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Serving up a new career with NMITs dual qualifications

12 Feb 2010

When Malaysian student Pedmoi "Mimi" Ho first arrived in Melbourne she only knew how to cook traditional Chinese or Thai food. Now she's treating her family to roast lamb, hollandaise sauce and, her favourite, pancakes with strawberry sauce. "I like cooking, especially western-style food. I would really like to work in a hotel restaurant in Melbourne when I finish my course," she says.

Mimi's cooking skills have improved along with her English thanks to NMIT's ESL Certificate III in Employment (Hospitality) course, which she recently completed alongside the Certificate II in Kitchen Operations. She says the course helped her identify western ingredients and learn English. “Along with studying the theory we also learned a lot about communicating with people while working in a restaurant. What I learned about cooking was also important because I want to be a chef.”

The 46-year-old is no stranger to cooking for large numbers of people and regularly feeds 100 members of her extended family every Chinese New Year. “I cook every day at home. The best thing about the course was the teachers and the staff. Jean would teach us new words. She would make sure we knew what coriander was. In the beginning it was very tough, but by the time we were finished, we were very happy because we'd learned a lot of things. Mimi also managed to pick up a few tips while watching Masterchef. “I watch a lot of TV cooking shows. But if I hadn't done the course, I wouldn't know what a lot of the food was.”

Mimi is about to start the Certificate III Patisserie course at NMIT's Preston campus and she's looking forward to gaining valuable hands-on experience at onsite restaurant St Georges.

ESL teacher Jean Mitchell says the dual delivery of ESL and hospitality is a great way for students to learn English and become skilled in the kitchen at the same time. Last year's group had two qualified chefs working with them along with a food auditor. “They get a lot of input from industry people.” Jean says students can work as a cook or as a kitchen hand when they finish the course. “They are highly employable, it's a great starting point.”

Inquiries: Contact Jean Mitchell by email or phone the Vocational Pathways Department on 9269 8302.


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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.