Australian Government statistics reveal that less than a quarter (23 per cent) of the country’s baking and pastry chef workforce of 35,000 employees are female. Despite being one of the minority, TAFE NSW Armidale student and Moxons Bakery apprentice, Kyah Valler, has found the recipe for success.
The 20-year-old is fresh off claiming a silver medal in the Bake Skills Australia Champion Pastry Chef Competition and a win in the Great Aussie Pie competition, where she competed against, and upstaged some of the most talented bakers in the country.
A humble Kyah said, “I was pretty stoked with those results. I entered the competitions for a bit of practice so I wasn’t expecting to go so well.
“Growing up I always loved cooking and making cakes and didn’t want to go to university, so getting an apprenticeship and going to TAFE NSW made sense for me.
“When I first came into the baking industry I was surprised to learn it was a male-dominated industry, especially now because I love it some much and couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
“Head baker at Moxons Bakery, Craig Cornwell, has supported me throughout my apprenticeship and I’m grateful to have such a great mentor who encourages me to be creative and succeed in the workplace.”
Moxons Bakery owners, Roger and Anne Bourke, were full of praise for Kyah, who is in the final year of her Certificate III Retail Baking apprenticeship after starting with their business in 2015.
Roger said, “It’s really hard to find staff who have the talent and passion to do well in this industry, but Kyah certainly has those skills – she’s a perfectionist and a wonderful asset to our business.
Anne added, “We’re really proud of Kyah and everything she has achieved so far. She’s learning a lot at TAFE NSW and putting it into practice and enhancing her skills here. She has a really big future in this industry.”
These sentiments were shared by TAFE NSW Hospitality Head Teacher, Matt McAllister, who said, “Kyah started as a school-based apprentice and over the past four years the hospitality teaching section have seen her develop into a wonderfully creative and talented baker.
“I believe Kyah is an outstanding role model and should inspire any other females who have ever considered a career as a baker or pastry cook to start their careers studying at Australia’s leading training organisation – TAFE NSW.”
For more information on the range of baking, pastry and hospitality courses available at TAFE NSW, phone 131 601 or visit www.tafensw.edu.au
Media contact: Luke Schuyler, TAFE NSW Media and Communications Business Partner, 0439 536 563.