August 13th, 2017

National Skills Week held from 28 August to 3 September, is Australia’s pinnacle week for celebrating vocational education and training (VET) and provides the perfect opportunity to shine a light on careers in the commercial cookery, baking and patisserie sectors of the foodie world, as a pathway to a successful career for Australians of any age.

 “Hospitality and in particularly commercial cookery qualifications provides many benefits to long term career success for Australians of all ages.  Currently there is a strong demand for roles, with many roles providing, an ability to travel with your profession, a competitive salary and significant opportunity for career growth,” says Kirstin Casey, General Manager at SkillsOne.

Louise Brooks, national VET Alumni member and 2016 Australian Training Awards Vocational Student of the Year finalist, decided to take the plunge into a new career after working for 15 years a pediatric nurse while juggling a household of four young children. It was on a long plane ride from England back to Australia after her father’s funeral, that gave her the push she needed to leave the confines of nursing and leap head first into her passion for cooking.

“My idea of winding down is to sit in a bubble bath with a cookbook — I live and breathe cooking.”

“I sat on the plane and I was thinking life is really too short, I was feeling a bit stagnant nursing so I thought let’s turn my hobby into a career,” said Louise.

Louise, started with Barista and Responsible Service of Alcohol training and quickly moved on to completing a Certificate III in Commercial Cookery at Bunbury TAFE in 2015.  Louise’s training pathway had the flexibility to fit around her family responsibilities and provided her the combination of practical and theory as well as strong mentorship and support.

Her commitment, hard work and the support of mentors and family, saw Louise named Regional TAFE Student of the Year in 2016 and culminated in being announced as a finalist at the Australian Training Awards in the same year.

“I was shocked, elated and thrilled — the whole journey has been amazing,” said Louise

Employed at St Aidan Wines, Louise thoroughly enjoys her work and working within a supporting environment that nurtures her passion and ability.

She believes her decision to undertake training has made her a good role model for her children and an example that goals can be achieved at any stage of life.

“They’ve been so nurturing here, they’ve given me child-friendly hours and they’re flexible enough to let me go back to TAFE next year to do patisserie,” said Louise.

Family has been by her side since she took the leap of faith, and since then Louise has grabbed every opportunity presented.

 “The family were fully on board — they were all supportive and put up with some crazy dinners while I was experimenting,” said Louise

In the future, Louise would like to develop her leadership skills and complete a Diploma of Nutrition to complement her nursing background, commercial cookery course and passion for serving people good food, with the idea to set up healthy eating workshops for children.

SkillsOne will be showcasing VET qualifications during National Skills Week from 28 August to 3 September 2017. During this week, Australia will highlight the breadth in career opportunities available through vocational education and training. To organise an event, or take part in the many events that can be found across the country, visit the National Skills Week website.

For further information on Louise’s story, or other inspirational career success stories from the Australian Training Awards, VET Alumni program or the Australian Apprenticeships Ambassadors program, visit the Australian Training Awards website.

For more information please contact: Kirstin Casey (General Manager at SkillsOne)

Mobile: 0420 652 558 Email:

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