Exciting opportunity for young cooks
A group of culinary apprentices will travel to Prince Edward Island, Canada, to train with the support of the Department of Workforce Development.
Devon Nepier, Sierra Symonds, Kalea Steede, Jomeko Mallory and Kalen Mills — all of whom work at the Fairmont Southampton — will spend six weeks at Holland College next year to work towards their Red Seal certification.
The Red Seal Interprovincial Programme is an internationally recognised apprenticeship programme which covers 52 trades, including cooking.
The Department of Workforce Development will cover the cost of their tuition.
Mr Mills, who graduated from the Bermuda College with an associate’s degree in culinary arts, started work at Fairmont Southampton in July.
He said: “The apprenticeship programme has been such a good opportunity for me.
“I am excited to go away to Canada in January and really enhance my culinary skills.”
Ms Symonds meanwhile began working at the Fairmont Southampton when she was just 19-years-old, through an internship with the hotel.
She said: “Once I had my foot in the door, I kept applying for the Fairmont’s apprenticeship programme until they accepted me.
“I am so grateful to the Department of Workforce Development and to the Fairmont for supporting me. I grew up just me and my mom and there is no way I could do what I am doing now without their support financially.”
Ms Symonds has been to Holland College twice previously and plans to take her final Red Seal exam in 2020.
She added: “You have to love what you do as it can mentally be very tough.
“While we are away in Canada, we basically have to learn an entire text book in five weeks. But it’s is a great chance for all of us apprentices to bond as a team as we all work in separate kitchens here at the Fairmont.”
Mr Mallory — who was this week recognised as the Fairmont Southampton’s Culinary Apprentice of the Year — will be making is second trip to Holland College
He said: “I have been working really hard. I began volunteering at the hotel when I was still in high school. My mother told me I needed a solid plan for when I leave school.
“To any young Bermudian who is interested in being a chef, I would tell them to look into this Apprenticeship Program. It’s really been a great experience.”
Lovitta Foggo, Minister of Labour, Community Affairs and Sports, wished all five the best of luck with the programme.
She said she was able to enjoy some of their cooking at the Fairmont’s Annual Colleague Christmas Lunch and was impressed with their abilities.
Ms Foggo said: “The food was delicious and I was equally impressed with how these young people conducted themselves.
“It is clear that they possess the drive and determination needed to go far in this industry.”