The Blue Mountains economy is largely built on the hospitality sector and students now have access to training in the industry with the opening of the Hospitality Trade Skills Centre at Katoomba High School.
The state-of-the-art facility offers amenities that are of the highest quality. Hospitality teacher Louise Hanrahan was enthusiastic about the opportunities it would give to students.
“Previously our students could only gain this level of experience through work placement, which is limited to a week or two per year. Now our senior students can have access to industry standard practice throughout their studies.”
The new commercial kitchen, resplendent in polished stainless steel is an $850,000 investment, funded by the federal government.
This investment ensures that the hospitality facilities at the school are well above the state standard.
For Ms Hanrahan and her students, the centre’s value lies in more than just its professional equipment.
“The Trade Skills Centre is the ideal resource for a school in such a high volume tourist area. It provides students with access to jobs in their own community backed up by high quality training,” she said.
To hone their skills, students provide catering for large and small events, both in school and in the community. A coffee club run by students develops client customer relations skills and increased confidence amongst aspiring baristas.
Excited Year 11 and 12 students attending the opening were enthused that they could not only graduate from school with the Higher School Certificate but also gain a Certificate II in their chosen hospitality field.
Federal member for Macquarie, Susan Templeman, and her state colleague, Trish Doyle ,were among the guests sampling the sweet and savoury fare produced by Year 11 hospitality students.
Mrs Templeman was impressed by the professional environment and the proficiency of the trainees. Recognising the importance of the centre for the school she indicated that “I’m really proud to have the Trades Skills Centre in my electorate. This initiative provides our children with a head start in a key, but very competitive local industry.”