Despite the impact of COVID-19 on the event and hospitality industry, Pasan Nawarathna gained work experience at The General Assembly and now works as a Level 2 Cook at the Riverland Group after studying the Certificate III in Commercial Cookery (SIT30816).
“I learned a lot in this course – the classes and practical training were very interesting and we had access to amazing facilities. The teachers were outstanding, especially as an international student, as they gave me extra advice and guidance.
During the course, I got the opportunity to train at The General Assembly. I learned to run a service of 500 customers and was involved in 10 events. I prepared new dishes too. It taught me that this is the career I want to pursue."
Pasan now works full-time at Riverland Group as a Level 2 Cook.
“I serve 150 customers per day, even during Covid. I also occasionally supervise Level 1 Cooks under the direction of the Head Chef. I’m really enjoying what I do. My course and training got me here.”
Brad Cunningham, Executive Chef at Riverland Group, agrees with the importance of gaining experience before entering the workplace. "It's very important, experience is everything. Just like most new students learning a new industry, there are always difficulties when theory turns into practical. It's easy to get lost in the work and forget to ask for help, so ask questions and communicate openly," Brad says.
Growing up, Pasan loved eating Sri Lankan food. He hopes to one day open a restaurant where others can also enjoy authentic Sri Lankan cuisine.
"I now want to open my own restaurant, with my own recipes and food ideas. That‘s my dream."
The Certificate III in Commercial Cookery (SIT30816) is offered as a Free TAFE course in 2021. Free TAFE courses are tuition-fee free and align with skills and jobs that are in demand from Victorian employers.