Nova Sco­tia Ap­pren­tice­ship Agency

Pro­vid­ing dream ca­reers and build­ing our fu­ture gen­er­a­tion

The Coast - Career Minded - - NEWS -

Quin­ten Ben­nett’s heart has al­ways been in the culi­nary in­dus­try. For as long as he can re­mem­ber he’s had his hands in one project or an­other, in­clud­ing some of his ear­lier mem­o­ries of bak­ing and dec­o­rat­ing cakes with his mom.

So when the Nova Sco­tia Ap­pren­tice­ship Agency’s Serve It Up! pro­gram came to Ben­nett’s high school with an op­por­tu­nity in his dream ca­reer, he jumped at it. “I had to go through the ap­pli­ca­tion process, pro­vide ref­er­ences and prove that this was the path for me,” says Ben­nett. “I had been wait­ing for this op­por­tu­nity to open up, and I had to have it.” Ben­nett worked hard to prove him­self right for the po­si­tion, sim­i­lar to what a job in­ter­view would look like.

His work paid off, and Ben­nett soon started the Serve It Up! pro­gram, work­ing for five weeks in the sum­mer, gain­ing co­op­er­a­tive ed­u­ca­tion and ap­pren­tice­ship cred­its in the cook trade with the De­bert Hos­pi­tal­ity Cen­tre.

Be­ing ex­posed to the en­tire in­dus­try at the Hos­pi­tal­ity Cen­tre gave Ben­nett an idea of what he could look for­ward to in en­ter­ing the field, in­clud­ing kitchen prepa­ra­tion work and clean-up. “What is valuable is know­ing what to ex­pect once I grad­u­ate, and build­ing that trust and gain­ing my lead­er­ship skills,” he says.

Upon com­ple­tion of the pro­gram, Quentin reg­is­tered as a youth ap­pren­tice with De­bert Hos­pi­tal­ity Cen­tre. Although he con­tin­ues to at­tend high school, he works part-time as a cook ap­pren­tice, gain­ing hours and ex­pe­ri­ence as he works to­ward ob­tain­ing a cer­tifi­cate of qual­i­fi­ca­tion in the trade.

Ben­nett has since lead shifts in the kitchen, a high­light of the pro­gram for him. “This just speaks to my ca­pa­bil­i­ties, and the pro­gram’s ben­e­fits,” he says. “The pro­gram def­i­nitely pre­pared me for the work ahead, and it taught me the im­por­tance of or­ga­ni­za­tion once it was my time to run the kitchen. It was an in­cred­i­ble hon­our to be given that trust and re­spect.”

The most valuable les­son that Ben­nett has learned through his ex­pe­ri­ence is that the culi­nary in­dus­try is not just fun and games. “It’s not just bak­ing a cake with your mom at five years old. You’re faced with in­cred­i­ble pres­sures that come along with the job, in­clud­ing dead­lines and hun­gry peo­ple. For it to be worth it, you have to en­joy it. It has to be your pas­sion.”

The Serve it Up! pro­gram has helped Ben­nett reach the ideal path for his ca­reer, where he has gained the right con­nec­tions to uti­lize down the road, and has opened up sev­eral op­por­tu­ni­ties for him, in­clud­ing his work­ing along­side renowned chefs. “I al­ways knew I wanted to work in the culi­nary in­dus­try, but it’s dif­fer­ent when you get in there and do it. The pro­gram has shown me the whole scope of the in­dus­try, and has helped me to see that it re­ally is the right choice for me,” he adds.

Ben­nett loves to travel around the world to try new food, and he con­tin­ues to see him­self work­ing in this field, and be­ing im­mersed in a cul­ture that keeps him fresh with new ideas. The pro­gram has given him the tools to en­hance these skills that can take him all over the world in pur­suit of his dreams.

The Serve It Up! Sum­mer Youth Pro­gram is a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the Nova Sco­tia Ap­pren­tice­ship Agency, the Tourism As­so­ci­a­tion of Nova Sco­tia, the Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion and Early Child­hood De­vel­op­ment and em­ploy­ers in the in­dus­try.

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