Diverse and delicious at De La Salle
Food technology is a sizzling subject at De La Salle College in Mangere, Auckland.
Teacher Aaron D’Souza says the technology department has a strong focus on career pathways for students, especially in the subject of senior hospitality.
A former chef, Aaron recently retrained as a secondary school teacher and is excited about sharing his industry knowledge and connections with young aspiring chefs.
“We believe that the hospitality industry is only getting bigger and stronger – there will soon be a huge shortage of professionals in this area,” he explains.
“I worked in the Auckland CBD during the last two America’s Cup races, and the amount of work out there was phenomenal. There are growing opportunities for young chefs. It’s sometimes perceived as a low-skill job, but in reality there’s demand for highly skilled professionals in this area. I believe it’s a great career to go into.”
Aaron says there are a number of ways in which schools can use their industry connections to help students move into internships and apprenticeships once they finish secondary school.
For example, Auckland company Skycity offers apprenticeships to around 10 students each year, and Aaron plans to help establish a set of scholarships to award to outstanding De La Salle College students to help them get started once their leave school.
Joking that he doesn’t want to see himself out of a job, Aaron wants to encourage others in the hospitality sector to consider making the move to teaching.
“I think it would be great to see more chefs working in schools. There’s something to be said for sharing your knowledge and helping to shape the next generation of hospitality workers. It’s a fantastic industry with many opportunities just waiting for our young people,” he says.
Aaron got his start in the hospitality industry in Auckland and worked as a chef at hotels such as The Carlton, Skycity and the Copthorne for a number of years, through which he got involved in teaching students on the Gateway programme.
Wanting to change his work schedule to better suit his family life as a full-time solo father, Aaron retrained as a teacher and hasn’t looked back.
“I was finding that being a chef was quite stressful at the time, due to the long hours, and missing out on time with my sons. Teaching seemed like a natural progression for me, as well as a good use of my technical skills and experience.
“Along with your skills, you bring all your industry connections and knowledge with you to the classroom, which I think is hugely beneficial to a school’s technology department.”
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