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NMIT eases the cost of an education

25 Mar 2013

NMIT patisserie student Sharyn Frantz is busy perfecting her croque en bouche, a dessert that's now back in vogue thanks to the popular Channel Ten Masterchef series.

The 41-year-old mum of two, who is completing the Certificate III in Hospitality (Patisserie) at the Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE, is about to launch her own catering business at her home in Woodend. Blackbird Catering will provide cakes, desserts and pastries for birthday parties, weddings, lunches and other events. Thanks to an NMIT study grant award, Sharyn is well on her way to buying all the equipment she needs to get her started.

Sharyn's $1000 gift voucher was donated by Cedar Hospitality Supplies, a new sponsor of the awards this year. “I'm delighted and thrilled,” says Sharyn. “I had just been searching through the Cedar catalogue and drooling over the selection of equipment when I got the phone call saying I'd won an award. It was amazing. I was nearly in tears.” Sharyn says she enjoys the hands-on nature of her course at NMIT. “The depth of knowledge that our pastry teacher has is amazing, and it's all so accessible. It's a real joy and the pastry kitchen is fabulous.”

Sharyn, who worked as an academic psychologist before deciding on a career change, was nominated for the award by her teachers for her commitment to the craft and her passion for pastry. “I've always cooked and I always wanted to do something that was creative and that tasted good too.” Her award is one of 109 prizes ranging between $500 and $1500 each handed out at the NMIT 2010 Study Grant Awards presentation at the Preston campus last night.

The awards are given to students who demonstrate enthusiasm and commitment to their studies and achieve academic excellence. Cash grants, products and vouchers for the NMIT Awards Program are generously donated by members of the NMIT Industry Foundation and local businesses, including ANZ Bank, Dell Australia, the City of Darebin, Rosanna Rotary, Alliance Catering and many more. With many students across most Victorian TAFEs facing higher fees, NMIT's study grants are helping to ease the financial burden. Like Sharyn, many students are choosing to use the grants to buy expensive equipment they need for work or text books for their course.

Manny's Musical Instruments in Fitzroy is just one of many local businesses supporting NMIT students. “I think the students coming out of NMIT are fantastic, we've been involved for 15 years now and we're happy to be giving something back,” says owner Manny Gauci-Seddon, who donated $1000 each to music performance students, Hannah Casement and Andrew Keller. “The NMIT courses are great. They're more affordable than other music courses and they cover a broad range of musical genres including rock and jazz,” said Gauci-Seddon.

Students at this year's ceremony excelled in areas like engineering, hospitality, business, land management, visual arts, horticulture, professional writing, renewable energy and construction. Rosanna Rotary Club awarded study grants for academic excellence to three students: Lukas Page (Certificate III in Offsite Construction), Mathew Johnson (Certificate III Building Construction - Bricklaying) and Adam Butterworth (Certificate III in Plumbing). All received cheques of between $500 and $1000.

Adam Butterworth says he will spend his $1000 grant on tools and equipment for work. The former engineer, who works for Plumbco Plumbers in Port Melbourne, is in his final year at NMIT. “With all the hard work you put in, it's great to get recognised,” he says.

NMIT Head of Department, Hospitality, Tourism and Personal Services, Craig Vanson says the awards provide important links between NMIT and local industry and encourage excellence among students. “Thanks to our supporters we get the chance to recognise and reward our outstanding students and highlight their achievements to potential employers.”

Interview / Photo Opportunity

Media enquiries should be directed to the NMIT Communications Officer, James Gardener, on (03) 92691579, 0413 483 182 or

NMIT (Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE) - Situated on seven campuses and six training centres throughout Melbourne's north, 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.