When Claire Taranto started working as a waitress during Year 12 in 2004, she thought it would be easy; a job at her local tavern after school and on weekends that was a quick walk from home to make money to indulge her teenage passions.
But confronted by difficult customers often made her confused; indeed, her status as an amateur revealed itself with an uncertainty about what to say and what to do.
At that time, Claire didn't fuss about these issues, she had another career goal as a chef in the background, but after completing her VCE and spending a year as an apprentice chef in a nursery café in Warrandyte, she found the heat of the kitchen too stifling, even monotonous and opted instead to develop her skills in hospitality in the cooler environs at the front of house.
In 2006, Claire, 20, enrolled in the Diploma of Hospitality Management at Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE (NMIT) and now acknowledges how little she really knew about her job as a waitress.
As cafes, bars, restaurants and hotels abound in our city, with increasing numbers of affluent Melburnians and overseas tourists demanding first-class service as they fine dine with their hard-earned dollars, the demand for professionalism in the hospitality industry has grown enormously.
To meet this need, NMIT is offering Mid Year Course entry for the two-year, nationally accredited Diploma of Hospitality Management which will start on Monday 16 July. Whether you're a recent school leaver or more mature aged adult in your twenties or even older, the course is designed to develop professional knowledge and skills for employment in the hospitality industry.
For Claire, who continued working as a waitress during her 12-month stint as an apprentice chef, making the move into studying hospitality has greatly enhanced her expertise and helped her gain training and experience for management roles in the future.
'I always enjoyed my work as a waitress as it was a lot of fun and I decided on a new direction to learn how to become a real professional,' Claire said.
'I could use the knowledge and skills I had learned as an apprentice chef and learn new skills and it all came together very nicely.'
Indeed, Claire stressed she did not want to stay 'an amateur' in an industry that was increasingly demanding formal qualifications to advance into management.
With the course, Claire has acquired people skills to handle those difficult customers that previously upset her, leadership and supervisory skills as well as improving her knowledge of wine and other beverages.
'When people go out, they expect good service and now I know how to do that. I'm also learning to train other staff where I work and have gained valuable direct experience at NMIT in its training restaurant and bistro, St Georges.'
At its Preston campus, NMIT operates an a la carte restaurant and bistro open for lunch and dinner for the local community. It accommodates 120 customers and students work there in a range of hospitality roles as part of their training program.
'Previously to doing this course, I had no idea of what being a professional was about. It's still fun, but you have to have your head switched on and know what's going on around you. It's certainly not easy as I initially thought, but it's challenging and interesting with different people making it different every day,' Claire said.
NMIT offers a range of courses for Mid Year Entry Tel: (03) 9269-1200
Interview / Photo Opportunity
Media enquiries should be directed to the NMIT Communications Officer, James Gardener, on 03 9269 1579, 0413 483 182 or firstname.lastname@example.org
NMIT (Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE) – Situated on six campuses and six training centres throughout Melbourne’s north plus a regional campus at Ararat, NMIT delivers vocational training, higher education and lifelong learning capabilities for a global workforce. NMIT forges partnerships with community, industry and government to produce practical, solution orientated graduates capable of making meaningful contributions to their chosen field of endeavour.
Interview / Photo Opportunity
Media enquiries should be directed to the NMIT Communications Officer, James Gardener.