CORNWALL, Ontario – A half dozen graduates from a popular Cornwall-based cooking program have found jobs – including full-time positions.
The students, who recently completed an intensive 16-week in-class training session, and then finished a six-week placement as part of the Eastern Ontario Training Board’s kitchen helper program, have parlayed their success into work.
The students have landed jobs in kitchens at area restaurants and conference centres.
The news was confirmed in a media release issued by the training board this week. The training board is hosting the program on behalf of Youth Skills Connection, a provincial government initiative.
“We’re so proud of the accomplishments of our students,” said program manager Kimberly Vass-Lihou. “They worked so hard during our classroom sessions, and it has paid off because now employers are seeing first-hand how valuable they are.”
The kitchen helper program is designed to help unemployed youth with barriers, between the ages of 18 to 25, get the skills and experience they need to get a job, explained Vass-Lihou.
The 16-week, full-time session offers curriculum and kitchen practice, followed by a six-week field placement.
The first two components of the program were completed in Cornwall. The current component is taking place in Alexandria.
“A kitchen can be anywhere,” said Vass-Lihou. “You can work at a hospital at a restaurant, you can work in fine dining or you can work at a bar.”
“I’ve loved cooking for the longest time,” said program participant, Guy Gougeon, who is working at the Nav Centre. “It’s very helpful; it’s taught me a few things I didn’t know.”
Gougeon, who wants to make a career in the kitchen, said that the program certainly helped point him in the right direction.
“It made me realize, that there’s a certain type of cooking that I really love more than other types. I love more bar food cooking as opposed to high end cooking.”