What would you call an eisteddfod with a culinary twist aimed at Vocation Education & Training students?
“A VETsteddFOOD of course,’ laughed Michael Everett, MWLP’s innovative work placement manager.
The event held over two days at the Camden Civic Centre was a Creative way to connect with young industry hopefuls, while at the same time giving back to the community. Senior citizens were treated to entertainment and a scrumptious three course meal.
“We’ve done it with the idea that we’ve got to be really innovative around work placement. And this is | guess the next level in work placement if you put it into perspective. We’ve really had some kids doing some wonderful things and getting that whole experience around hospitality and entertainment,’ Everett said.
Mason Connell, one of the young chefs was delighted to be involved. “It helps build teamwork and somewhat get an idea of the industry and it’s a really good indicator of whether you want to actually becomea part of the industry or not,’ he said.
The event was made possible courtesy of a $5000 Camden Council grant and Everett’s idea was to have students combine their abilities to produce an event from ground up. “They’re about to go into the working world in the next few years and they need that real life experience of getting their hands dirty, peeling carrots, peeling potatoes”, he said.
“But not just doing that, as can happen in some work placements. Students can actually be stuck doing that pretty much all week, which can be disappointing for them if they don’t get to see what happens to those potatoes. So here they’re getting to cook the potatoes, mash the potatoes, put the cream and everything through them, put them on a plate with the meat that they’ve helped me seal off and cook for five hours, or whatever it is that we’ve done. So they get to learn some fundamentals from start to finish, which gives them the entire picture.”
Lydia Oreshkin found the whole experience invaluable. “Learning how to serve and go out to customers and just general hospitality, it’s helped to build up skills and confidence, so that if I ever get a job in the hospitality, I can already know what I’m doing; she said.
With his characteristic enthusiasm and nothing-can-stop-me attitude, Everett has already had discussions with other local Councils about jumping on the VETsteddFOOD bandwagon. “This is a real great opportunity for Campbelltown and Wollondilly Councils to get involved in these kinds of activities. Let’s get to all the local Councils and give us, our kids, our young adults, a real opportunity to see what the working world is about in their chosen field”