Nick Baker – Executive Sous Chef of Mantle Group Hospitality, which owns and operates The Charming Squire in South Brisbane – had a problem. Like many other hospitality venues, the business was feeling the effects of a state-wide chef shortage.

Nick saw an opportunity to resolve the issue after finding out about the Registered Trade Skills Pathway (RTSP). This program, administered by the Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC), is a non-traditional apprenticeship model which is designed to offer casual cooks currently working in industry, the opportunity to gain the professional trade qualification. It allows casual cooks across Queensland to access nationally recognised industry training while working to gain their Certificate III in Commercial Cookery. On successful completion of the formal training, participants receive a $1,000 financial contribution to support their continued involvement in the industry.

The Charming Squire had two staff who were perfectly suited for the program, which aims to extend on participants’ existing skills. The formal qualification German Gonzalez had gained in his home country was not recognised in Australia, while Jackson Headley-Magee already had years of hands-on experience as a cook.

The flexible delivery of the training enables eligible participants to gain recognition for prior learning, hold multiple jobs with different employers, and continue their training if they become unemployed or change employers within Queensland. German “appreciated that his trainer adapted the program to his schedule, making it easier and faster to complete”.  He has since been appointed Head Chef at The Charming Squire and is inspired to continue studying and working towards his goal of taking up an executive position in the coming years. Jackson also benefitted from the flexible program delivery, explaining that “having the time to do it at my own pace instead of in a time-frame made it less stressful”.

The RTSP was a chance for current staff at The Charming Squire to gain a nationally recognised qualification, while simultaneously ensuring their expertise and experience would stay with the business. For Nick, “having our cooks receive this formal recognition of their skills after years of experience in the kitchen, has led to increased satisfaction in their role and higher quality of work, which benefits both the business and their long-term career aspirations”.

As a win-win situation for both the staff and employer, “it makes sense to be part of this program”, Nick concluded.

Casual cooks interested in the RTSP can complete the expression of interest form here

Any further questions can be sent to:

The RTSP is an initiative of the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training in Queensland.