BRIGHTER FUTURE: Some of the participants at a special TAFE NSW Cooma food handling course, giving members of the region’s multicultural communities the skills to work in the food industry.
An inspiring TAFE NSW course is helping some of the Snowy Mountains’ newest citizens get the job-ready skills to gain employment and feed the region.
Twenty-one women from Cooma’s growing multicultural community have recently completed a Statement of Attainment in Food Handling at TAFE NSW Cooma – and all plan to use it to parlay their passion for food into a career.
Cooma Multicultural Centre manager Yvi Henderson said the women, all of who were from non-English speaking backgrounds, would use the TAFE NSW qualification to further their careers in food, whether through market stalls, restaurants or at-home catering businesses.
“This was a fantastic opportunity for these women that didn’t have an Australian qualification to enhance their employment prospects,” Ms Henderson said.
“We have ski season coming up and hospitality venues are screaming out for workers so now they have their ticket, there will be lots of opportunities for these women.”
Ms Henderson said the TAFE NSW qualification would also allow some of the women to work at a planned social enterprise café at the multicultural centre.
She said sharing cultural food would help expedite the womens’ integration into the local community.
“Food is a great way to build bridges between different cultures,” Ms Henderson said. “You don’t just learn about different cultures through food, but you learn a bit about the person cooking the food.”
The women come from diverse parts of the globe, including Pakistan, Columbia, Thailand, Switzerland, Sudan and Bangladesh.
Ms Henderson praised TAFE NSW commercial cookery teacher Dave Arens for his delivery of the course and his cooking expertise.
According to the Economy ID website, food retailing generated $16.1 million in the Snowy Valleys Council area in 2020-21 and employed 195 people.
TAFE NSW Hospitality Team Leader Craig Kidd said the course was an example of how TAFE NSW empowered students from all walks of life to further their careers.
“To be able to give these women the job-ready practical skills and knowledge to launch a career in food is fantastic,” Mr Kidd said.
To explore the range of courses available at TAFE NSW and via TAFE Digital, visit www.tafensw.edu.au or phone 131 601 for more information.
Media contact: Dan Johns, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist, mobile 0477 722 428