July 27, 2017

Michelle’s cooking up a brighter future

You never know when life’s about to open a new door.

At 42 years of age, Hampton Road lodging resident Michelle had almost given up on her dream of becoming a chef. She’d started a cookery class a few years ago but found the experience very impersonal and unwelcoming.

“I felt like a number and I withdrew,” Michelle says. “When I was having trouble understanding something, they just didn’t take the time to listen.”

Now, through a new partnership between Foundation Housing and Fremantle’s Empyrean Education Institute, Michelle is competing her Certificate III in Commercial Cookery in Hampton Road’s onsite commercial kitchen.

“I found out about it the day before enrollments closed and I enrolled on the spot,” she says.

“This has been a completely different experience. When I told Empyrean about my background and what I wanted to achieve – which is to one day teach cooking to children with special needs and disadvantaged youth – they really listened. They’re so genuine.

“Initially I thought I’d do the Cert II, but they explained that the best pathway for me is the Cert III and they’ve helped me fast-track the course from one year to six months.

“Through this training, which is very much step by step and hands-on, I’ve learnt so many wonderful new skills and I completed practical experience at the Novotel Hotel, which was just fantastic.

“I used to lack a lot of confidence; now I’m looking beyond my training to job opportunities. I never thought I’d get to this position.”

Michelle says after a trip to visit family in Canada at the end of her Cert III training, she plans to enrol in a Cert IV and also move out of Hampton Road into a place of her own.

Five Hampton Road residents have enrolled in cookery training with Empyrean since the onsite courses started in May. If you’re interested in the course, contact Julia MacDonald to find out more. julia@foundationhousing.org.au  You don’t have to be a resident at Hampton Road to complete the course.