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Julie Harris changes career direction

Julie Harris standing behind two cakes with intricate patterns
Julie Harris found her passion through cooking

Grandmother of four, Julie Harris had worked as an Area Manager for BOC Gas for over 25 years before she began pursuing her true passion of cooking and cake decorating in 2017.

With 3 certificates now under her belt; Certificate III in Patisserie, Certificate III in Retail Baking and Certificate IV in Patisserie, she is currently undertaking 2 other courses. Certificate IV in Commercial Cookery and also a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment.

Julie had previously thought about doing a short course while she was working at BOC Gas but sadly never found the right one to fit her schedule. So, in 2016, when Julie left work to take care of her mother who was suffering from Alzheimer’s, she had the strong desire to do something different with her life and reinvent herself.

Julie soon found herself in the Melbourne Polytechnic Skills and Job Centre located in Plenty Valley where she discovered the numerous options of the courses she would later end up pursuing. Hesitant about returning to study in her late 50’s, Julie found that all quickly went away when she discovered how welcoming her teachers and peers were.

Over the years she has developed many close friendships which she now considers her family. Melbourne Polytechnic gave Julie such a positive and purposeful experience saying it gave her back her sanity during a hard and stressful time with her mother being ill.

She also found that they were very understanding of her situation and still finds it something to look forward to each day. Last year as a part of her retail baking class she entered the Fine Food Show Exhibition in which she placed Gold in the Wedding Cake category and Silver in the Model/Novelty Cake category.

Other achievements include:

Melbourne Show 2018  

Celebration Cake – First prize

Floral Showpiece – First prize

Miniature Cake – Second prize

Whittlesea Expo 2018  

1st - Hot Cross Buns, White Bread Rolls, Miniature Cake and Marzipan Fruit  

2nd - Rocky Road, Nougat, Chocolate Truffles, Gingerbread House, Flower Show Piece

3rd – Celebration Cake

When asked what advice would she give to others considering a career change or upskilling, Julie highly recommends Melbourne Polytechnic to many of her friends and says “Just go for it, there are absolutely no boundaries when it comes to age”

“I’ve always had a strong passion for cooking and cake decorating and regret that I didn’t do it sooner.” For more information on courses available at Melbourne Polytechnic.

Apprentice chef Nick Gnafakis a national winner

Nickolas Gnafakis standing beside his award and wearing a medal around his neck

Melbourne Polytechnic student Nick Gnafakis won the National Apprentice Cookery Competition by cooking up a storm in Canberra this month.

Apprentice chef Nick Gnafakis a national winner