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Michael Lands Cooking Apprenticeship with Celebrity Chef

Twenty year old Michael Pegler is over the moon after recently landing his dream job as an apprentice chef with celebrity chef, Ben O’Donoghue at his restaurant, BillyKart in Annerley.

Prior to commencing his apprenticeship in commercial cookery Michael was one of 15 jobseekers who undertook a scholarship program with the Institute of Culinary Excellence. Little did Michael know that his journey would transform his life into a career pathway in food.

Upon successful completion of the six week Certificate II in Kitchen Operations program Michael was offered the opportunity to commence an apprenticeship as a chef. The program included master classes, work experience, mentoring and tutoring and Michael also received a full uniform and tools of the trade.

Michael said he was very excited about starting his apprenticeship.

“I had been unemployed for a while and when the opportunity to do the scholarship program came up I was very keen to get on board. Since starting my apprenticeship I’ve learned a lot about safety in the kitchen, hygiene and storage and food preparation which has been great,” Michael said.

BUSY At Work Job Services, in partnership with the Institute of Culinary Excellence launched the ‘Culinary Excellence Scholarship’ at The Institute of Culinary Excellence (ICE), Coorparoo Secondary College in October last year.

The scholarship is a demand led program, responding to the needs of the Hospitality Industry for entry level training. Busy At Work collaborated with Alison Taafe, Director of ICE who worked with representatives from the hospitality industry to help realise her vision. Alison is a published and highly acclaimed chef who works directly with elite restaurants in Brisbane.

“My vision for this scholarship was to transform people’s lives with food and Michael is one of five students on the first program with us to have their lives transformed by The Institute of Culinary Excellence. We are all very proud,” Alison said.

BillyKart restaurant owner Ben O’Donoghue was enthusiastic about the Culinary Excellence Scholarship program saying it was a great opportunity to support youth in the local community.

I’ve been with the program for three years and found it has been a good way to assess potential employees to see if they are the right fit for our industry. We were looking at boosting our numbers after Christmas and having seen Michael progress through the six week program we recognised his potential and decided to offer him an apprenticeship,” Mr O’Donoghue said.

BUSY At Work, CEO Paul Miles said BUSY was pleased that the program had realised a dream for Michael in his working career.

“BUSY At Work has always been about building strategies aimed at improving job opportunities with disengaged youth and young adults.

“The scholarship in culinary excellence has involved the commitment of successful chefs dedicated to training and mentoring eligible jobseekers. We are very fortunate to have attracted some of Brisbane’s most well known and nationally acclaimed chefs to support these students with their job placement.

“This project is at the very core of what BUSY is all about and I’m delighted to be part of this ground breaking initiative,” Mr Miles said.

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