SkillHire apprentices finds passion in pastry

Camellia Holil never expected her casual job in hospitality would turn into a career that could take her overseas.

Like many teenagers, Camellia wasn’t sure what she wanted to do after high school. She decided to take a casual host job Rockpool Bar and Grill to earn some money while she figured out her next move. She had never considered hospitality as an actual career, until she saw the broad range of roles in the industry. , “I knew I wanted to do something creative so I looked into beauty and makeup, and then thought this crowd isn’t for me. It was when I saw what the pastry chefs did at Rockpool, I thought it looked pretty cool,” she said.

Camellia was connected with SkillHire (Part of the IntoWork Group) who helped her with the transition from host to an apprentice pastry chef. They helped her complete the apprenticeship paperwork, took her through the process and got her enrolled in her formal training to a Certifcate III in Hospitality, “SkillHire made the process really easy. They guided me through how to do timesheets and how to settle into a new company. I had a lot of support from them,” she said.

Now in the third year of her apprenticeship, the Bentley woman has taken her talents overseas where she gained valuable experience at Singapore’s 2AM Dessert Bar, “In May I went to Singapore just to observe and gain experience. It was very daunting because I was in a different environment, but everyone was very welcoming and I just joined in with service and prep and basically learned a lot,” she said.

Last year, she also gained experience at Melbourne’s fine dining restaurant Vue De Monde where she worked alongside the team working with not only pastry but other courses such as larder, mains and meat, “It was very intimidating but the team was very knowledgeable, and I learnt so much about Australian native ingredients, how to pair, use and the background of the produce within the four days. It actually sparked an interest in using native ingredients in dessert and pastry.”

Camellia also won second place at Melbourne’s 2022 Excellence of Baking Competition, “We had eight hours to make several amount of pastries, and you have to be creative and make your own thing. It was a lot of pressure but we were happy to have placed second in the competition,” she said.

SkillHire Skill Development Consultant Murray Wilson said an apprenticeship in hospitality allows you to gain real-world experience and learn from experienced professionals, “A job in hospitality is not just a casual job, it can turn into a real career. You can develop a range of skills, such as customer service, communication, problem-solving, and teamwork, which are essential for success in any industry. With an apprenticeship, you can gain a nationally recognised qualification, which can open the door to a range of exciting possibilities,” he said.

“At SkillHire we believe that an apprenticeship in hospitality can take you places. Our apprentices have the opportunity to develop their skills and gain qualifications that will help them to progress their career. We offer a supportive and nurturing environment, which allows our apprentices to gain confidence and experience.”

Camellia said she loves the creativity and artistry involved in her field, particularly in pastry-making, “I feel like with pastry, you can be really creative. It’s just basically like an art. You can play with all different types of flavours and the types of pastries. There’s so many types of pastry you can create,” she said.

She said she has grown a lot over the course of her apprenticeship, “This job is tough but it is so worth it. I didn’t know I could do a lot of things in the industry that not many people can do. I’ve developed a lot with my patience and my skills have gone from not knowing how to do anything and now I have so much knowledge and creativity.”

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