ON-Q employment consultant Dain Churchill helping first-year apprentice chef Ellen Geoghegan and chef Stephen Sayer by giving them the opportunity to follow the seasons with their career by offering six-month rotations at ski resorts in the winter and by the beach in the summer.
ON-Q employment consultant Dain Churchill helping first-year apprentice chef Ellen Geoghegan and chef Stephen Sayer by giving them the opportunity to follow the seasons with their career by offering six-month rotations at ski resorts in the winter and by the beach in the summer. Jay Cronan

Cooking up jobs for quiet times

ALSTONVILLE’S Ellen Geoghegan this year will need her swimmers for an after-work dip, and her snow jacket for an after-work ski.

The apprentice chef is likely to be one of several North Coast cooks to take part in a new program to help apprentices keep working during the quieter winter months.

ON-Q training in Ballina has been given a Federal Government grant to help apprentice chefs keep cooking after summer.

The surf and snow project is designed to secure apprentices work in the State’s skiresorts when the snow arrives later this year.

Representatives from ON-Q are in talks with a variety of hospitality businesses based on the slopes to line up work for about 10 North Coast apprentices.

The program will provide financial assistance for travel and accommodation costs to help apprentices make the move down south.

Apprentices not registered with ON-Q are also eligible for the program.

The surf and snow idea is partly the brainchild of ON-Q apprentice consultant Dain Churchill.

Mr Churchill said there had been a trend in recent years where apprentice chefs would be stood down by their host employer after the peakseason.

“Up to 25 per cent of the 20-plus apprentices employed by ON-Q could be stood downafter summer,” he said.

“We need to find other host employers to take out-of-work apprentice chefs.”

Mr Churchill said the situation inspired the plan to send the apprentices to the work, rather than the other way around.

“While tourist numbers decrease in the winter on the North Coast, it’s the opposite in the popular snowfields in New South Wales,” he said.

“This gives apprentices the opportunity to obtain valuable work and life experiences in two of Australia’s most desirable tourism destinations – Northern New South Wales and the southern snowfields.”

Ms Geoghehan, a first year apprentice chef at Ballina’s Ramada complex, said she was looking forward to the opportunity to live and cook somewhere else for part of the year.

“There’ll be different people and different experiences,” she said.

She’ll just have to remember to take the snow jacket for after work, and not the swimmers.



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