“I want to be a” a new era for apprentice recruitment

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16 June 2018
By Paul Stephenson | Senior Consultant
There is no doubt that we are a nation spoilt for choice when it comes to food and the abundance of culinary experiences at our disposal.  We are a growing and evolving industry nonetheless (around 14% per year), however the hospitality sector is just one of many sectors suffering from a lack of access to adequately skilled workers.  This is further highlighted by the Department of Education (2017) who estimate an additional 15,400 Cooks and Chefs will be needed by 2022.
This well documented shortage of quality Cooks and Chefs has only increased in the last 18 months, with changes to penalty rates and 457 visas leading the industry into turmoil.   So, what’s the solution to rectifying the skills shortage in the hospitality industry?

As an industry, it is evident that more needs to be done to address the skill shortage. Whether you are a venue, a training provider, a school or industry body, we all play an integral part in assisting to reversing this troubling trend.
With industry endorsement from Clubs Queensland, QTIC and QHA, I want to be a chef will bring finding an apprentice into the technological age. It will make finding an apprentice more manageable for employers, while providing would be apprentices a convenient way to find an apprentice role.
IWTBAC is a DWS initiative, two years in the making. Consisting of an online portal for both employers and employees alike, it delivers an effective avenue for aspiring Chefs to select the regions of Queensland they would like to work, employers can then log on and view the applicants. Simply put, if you want to be a chef, all you need to do is create a profile and upload your resume.
If you’re looking to be a chef, you can create your account for free, while employers pay a small annual fee to access to the portal. The site offers more than just job search automation, we have teamed up with Busy at Work who offer a comprehensive chef mentor program to assist apprentice chefs through the initial few months. The site will offer opportunities to attend events with celebrity chefs, cooking competitions, upskilling and training.
With strong, “real people” support backing the online portal, organisations and aspiring chefs throughout Queensland will have a dedicated and focused team to support them, delivering a better future for employees, organisations and the industry as a whole.
I got chatting with Aaron Bray, the General Manager of Club Training. – an excellent chef in his own right.  He remarked, there was limited support or opportunity to help him find his apprenticeship.
“You were essentially on your own and had to research available vocational options and employment.  The hotel industry at the time presented itself as an exciting adventure.  Accompanied by my passion for cooking and creating dishes seemed like the perfect career path for me. I secured an apprenticeship across two progressive venues in Brisbane where I had the opportunity to experience every facet of the kitchen and service – from buffet style, to a la carte and fine dining through to an onsite butchery, patisserie and major production kitchens.
This experience taught me several valuable life skills:

  • Working in a diverse team
  • Working under pressure
  • Delegation of tasks
  • Multi-tasking
  • Understanding the nature of costs in a business
  • Managing an operation
  • Training and mentoring with quality Chefs
  • Developing a strong work ethic

And whilst all these skills are transferable to any job, it proves that a Kitchen career can teach you a lot.  Essentially what you put in is ultimately what get in return.’’
If the site can deliver on its promise of helping ease the skilled worker shortage throughout Queensland, then that’s a great thing.
You can find out more about this initiative launching soon, by contacting Paul on 0412 886 031 or

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