Cookery students say thank you by preparing lunch for vaccination nurses

23 November 2021

Victoria University (VU) Polytechnic students have said a big thank you to frontline healthcare workers for their efforts getting Victorians vaccinated.

The VU Thank You initiative consisted of Certificate III in Commercial Cookery SIT30816 and Certificate IV in Commercial Cookery SIT40516 students preparing over 400 lunches at student training restaurant, VenU, to be delivered across vaccination hubs in the west of Melbourne, including Sunshine, Sunbury, Melton, Werribee and Flemington. Free coffee vouchers and access to university health and wellbeing programs were also provided as part of the Thank You campaign that ran during October. 

Strengthening our partnership

This initiative was developed to show VU’s appreciation for frontline workers at Western Health in a helpful and practical way. In 2020, Western Health cared for 46% of all COVID-19 cases in Australia, provided health intervention to over 75% of COVID-affected aged care facilities as well as operating the first mass testing site and vaccination hub at the Showgrounds. To this day, it still operates one of the busiest public health contact tracing units.

Allison Lamb, Manager of Melbourne Showgrounds Vaccination Hub said, “The demand is so huge, we often need to extend our opening hours at the last minute. Our nurses are working over 12 hours a day as they don’t want to let people down.”

In a longstanding partnership with Western Health, VU knew it had to step up and provide support.

Natalie Zaibak, Associate Director of Major Partnerships said,

“VU has been standing side by side with Western Health since the 1980’s and it was no different in 2020 and 2021 during the height of the pandemic. This year alone over 50 VU paramedic students and many nurses having been employed as vaccinators, as well as many other students from vocational and higher education employed in critical roles like registration and collection. We wanted a day to acknowledge these students and their colleagues from Western Health and what better way to say thank you than a healthy lunch.”

Western Health is VU’s main industry training partner for nursing and midwifery work-integrated learning. Each year, hundreds of VU students complete over 110,000 hours of clinical placement at Western Health locations. Just over 40% of nurses employed at Western Health are alumni of VU.

Practical training for students

By providing VU Polytechnic students with the opportunity to practice what they have learned online, they have been able to build confidence and improve their skills to better prepare for future events.

Shawn Vlaeminck, Manager of Hospitality, Tourism and Sport said,

“The opportunity presented to our cookery students was fantastic in building their industry skills. They worked to a deadline and under pressure, utilised various ingredients, stock controlled, and learned how to coordinate large scale catering for events. Experience like these is invaluable as they move through their course and into Industry.”

VU thanks all frontline healthcare workers for their hard work protecting our community.

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