Andrew Irvine (UK)

Commercial cookery

Andrew Irvine

When floor layer Andrew Irvine left Scotland for Australia two years ago he had no idea he was destined to become an award-winning apprentice chef…

The 35-year-old has been given Challenger Institute of Technology’s International Student of the Year Award in recognition of his commercial cookery skills. Andrew’s cooking talents have also led to his Mandurah employer sponsoring him to live and work in Australia.

“The course led me to a job at Café Pronto, which then offered me sponsorship to stay in Australia – in addition to a managerial position!” Andrew says. “The sponsorship and the course combined have helped me settle in Western Australia and have prepared me for my future career goal of running my own café or bistro.”

Andrew began a commercial cookery course through Challenger Institute shortly after arriving in Australia in 2008. He said his confidence in the kitchen grew throughout his training. “By the third term I’d finally found my feet,” he says. “The course gave me good direction and I knew I had made the right career move. I was lucky to be studying at Challenger’s Peel campus as the classes had a close-knit, family feel. I had lots of one-on-one time with lecturers.”

Challenger Institute hospitality lecturer Nada Lubay says Andrew’s attitude towards learning was exceptional. “His employer has given us excellent feedback, due to his outstanding work ethic and willingness to help with community events,” Nada says.

Andrew says his advice to other students is to keep learning and never give up. “Take in as much as you can, ask questions, take notes and study hard – the rewards will come,” he says.