Food & Hospitality, Class of 2008
At twenty two years old Ashley Peek was appointed Sous Chef at Adelaide restaurant Stumps Bar and Kitchen – just five years after making the transition from his then school to St Patrick’s Technical College in order to further his career ambitions.
In 2007, Ashley made the move to St Patrick’s after being given advice by his then teachers that the College was better placed to put him on the road to success by harnessing his passion for food and cooking.
Shortly after joining, the St Patrick’s team assisted Ashley in gaining an apprenticeship at the famous Rigoni’s Bistro on Leigh Street, Adelaide, where he worked for five years before taking on his role at Stumps Bar and Kitchen in Hyde Park.
In his role, Ashley is responsible for menu development, training new chefs, sourcing and purchasing produce and overseeing a busy commercial kitchen.
It’s a remarkable achievement for a young chef and Ashley credits St Patrick’s Technical College’s industry focus as playing a pivotal in achieving success at a young age.
Ashley says St Patrick’s Technical College really helped him prepare for life in the hospitality industry including making him aware of the possible rewards on offer and the hard work needed to be successful.
“The teachers at St Patrick’s have real world experience and knowledge and the ability to not only teach but guide you in your chosen career,” said Ashley.
“In my case, the teacher running the course had worked as a chef and baker for more than 25 years and was still working in the industry as well as teaching at the College. He understood my passion for the industry and was very supportive in helping me to make positive decisions about my career.”
“Being able to indulge my love of food and cooking and learn in an environment so closely aligned to the real world also inspired me in my study of core subjects like Maths and English.”
“Finishing my SACE has proved invaluable. The lessons learned in the core subjects have been directly applied in my work, particularly for menu development and food costings. The facilities at the College are also industry standard so students use commercial grade equipment and this is a great help when undertaking an apprenticeship and going onto further study at Regency College. It makes the transition much easier.”
“Students at the College also get to prepare restaurant quality food using modern cooking techniques and top quality produce. The College helps you to gain an understanding how of food is grown and produced including visits to market gardens and food manufacturers.”
Ashley was among the first students to attend St Patrick’s Technical College but he’s not the only former student to have experienced success in the hospitality industry.
Former students have gone on to work in some of Australia’s leading hotels and restaurants with one St Pat’s graduate already crowned South Australia’s winner of the prestigious Nestlé Golden Chef’s Hat.
Class of 2009, Automotive
Ross Neylon never looked back after joining St Patrick’s Technical College at the end of Year 10.
Ross is a qualified Diesel Mechanic and with his employer, Central Diesel, he completed his apprenticeship while working on major oil and gas projects in South Australia and Queensland.
He believes St Patrick’s Technical College set him on the path to success but is also grateful to the teacher at his previous school who advised him to join St Patrick’s and recognised it would give him the best start to a trades’ based career.
“St Patrick’s understands the needs of industry and align their curriculum and training to the real world,” said Ross.
“Even for Maths, English and Science, the lessons are geared towards the world of work and use industry applications to teach core subjects, which makes learning fun and highly relevant.
“I successfully completed my SACE and I’m sure my results were much better because I was learning about these subjects in the context of something I was passionate about.
“The teachers are highly motivated and come from industry so inspire your learning and development by making you aware of the opportunities available to you in the future.
“The practical training provided at the College is undertaken in facilities and using machinery of industry standard and this makes it easier when transitioning from work experience to a school-based apprenticeship and then full-time employment.
“St Patrick’s was one of the best decisions I’ve made, gave me a real head start and meant I graduated at a more advanced level than students attending a normal school.”
Ross was one of the first graduates of St Patrick’s Technical College and is now one of hundreds more enjoying a successful trades’ based career.