Students experience a taste of working life at show

An education department initiative is helping regional and remote students gain the necessary training qualifications for the HSC.

Image: Cooking up a storm: Nyngan High School students in the cafe kitchen.

Students from regional and remote schools are gaining real-world work experience running a café at the Royal Easter Show.

Show patrons lined up for a table at the Rural Students Café sampling a tasting plate with a home-made sausage roll, vegetarian quiche, chicken sandwich, cheesecake and pavlova, washed down with tea, coffee or a mocktail.

The café is run by Year 11 and 12 hospitality students who gain valuable skills and work experience towards their vocational education and training qualifications and for the HSC.

This week 13 students from Nyngan High School, who travelled 540 kilometres from their remote town to the Royal Easter Show at Sydney’s Olympic Park, manned the kitchen and front of house during their three-day rotation.

By the end of the show, 120 NSW public school students from 13 schools will have taken orders, served coffees, prepped and cooked all the food, chatted with customers, and carefully stored supplies in the cool room of the commercial kitchen.

Café coordinator Heather White said the café helped students meet their work experience requirements for the Certificate II Hospitality and Certificate II Kitchen Operations courses and for the HSC.

“This is the third year we’ve run the café. Students have to cook and serve, so they get that front of house and back of house experience,” she said.

“The students are mentored by professional chefs to prepare tasting plates and a degustation menu of locally inspired treats, with all proceeds from the café going back to schools.

“We have some wonderful staff helping out as well. Our head chef, Peter Kell, is from Denison College in Bathurst and he’ll be here for the whole show.”

Mr Kell, a former chef and now teacher at the Bathurst High campus of Denison College, was running a ship-shape kitchen on Monday.

“We’re in the second day of the rotation for Nyngan High and it’s a smooth day today,” he said.

Nyngan High School, which has 180 students, has a Trade Training Centre as its school kitchen and a popular coffee shop elective which has increased student enrolments in hospitality classes.

The Nyngan community also supports the hospitality students by inviting them to cater and serve at local events.

The profit made from the Rural Students Café goes back to the participating schools to use to upgrade kitchens and equipment. Last year the student café made a profit of $40,000.

Schools participating in the Rural Students Café are:

  • Braidwood Central School
  • Finley High School
  • Gundagai High School
  • Ingleburn High School
  • Junee High School
  • Lightning Ridge Central School
  • Manilla Central School
  • Menindee Central School
  • Muirfield High School
  • Nyngan High School
  • Tenterfield High School
  • Uralla Central School
  • Whitebridge High School.
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