Jessica McArdle is an apprentice chef in her third year of training at Orange TAFE. Her host employer is Kelly's Hotel where she works at Mary Jane's Restaurant and she is one of five working in the restaurant's kitchen.
Jessica will complete her four year long apprenticeship next year and sometime after that will probably head to Sydney to get some more restaurant, experience. "I'd like to work under different chefs, to learn more" Jessica said.
Jessica also knows that there is demand for qualified chefs all around the world, and is looking forward to overseas travel, again, to expand her knowledge and experience in the food industry.
At the moment she is happy working with Mark Tracey (the head chef at Mary Jane's) she said, "He is a wonderful teacher and have learnt a lot from him and hope to learn more".
Jessica has loved cooking food for as long as she can remember. She likes being creative, trying different ingredients and experimenting. "The variations in food are endless, there is always something new "
"I enjoy planning menus and looking for different things to cook. There is opportunity to be creative and original but it always has to suit customers. "
Jim Smith is Jessica's teacher at TAFE. He says that "passion" is the most important attribute for a person to become a chef. "Passion for the work and food means everything," says Jim.
There are two each of first and second stage Commercial Cookery classes running at Orange TAFE and one stage 3 group, in all catering for 86 apprentices. The current interest and number of apprentice chefs training in Orange augers well for food lovers, although there is a shortage of trained chefs in Australia.
TAFE Western is the major provider of training for apprentices and trainees throughout the region. TAFE Western Institute Director, Kate Baxter said, "TAFE Western's highest priority is to provide training for apprentices and trainees.
"TAFE Western provides apprentice training in 25 different trades, and ongoing training to Certificate IV and Diploma level in a number of trade areas. Then there are short courses for trades-people to keep up-to-date and gain further accreditation, like in Green Skills.
"Then of the 564 courses we offer, 216 are suitable available as traineeships, which like apprenticeships, enable to people to combine work with training to attain their qualifications.
There is enormous demand for qualified workers in most trade areas in Australia so it is really worthwhile for people (not just young people) to consider trade training.