High school hospitality course gives students real-world skills

Issue: Volume 98, Number 8

Posted: 15 May 2019
Reference #: 1H9u9C

Students at Tauranga Boys’ College pursue a range of vocational pathways, but, with approximately 800 students involved, the hospitality course is by far the most popular.

Tauranga Boys’ College students run a staff café and an express café for students. They take part in barista training, complete work experience at the local McDonald’s and learn about the basics of food and flatting.

The college’s Head of Foods and Hospitality Natasha Peddle says the aim is to give students real-life skills before they enter the workforce.

“We’re really trying to model as teachers what the expectations would be out in the industry and by providing these real-life café experiences onsite, the boys’ interest in hospitality has definitely increased,” she says.

“The boys are actually getting excited about what it would be like to have a job in a hospitality establishment somewhere and they’re being proactive and thinking, ‘Well, actually let’s do some work outside as well as at school.”

McDonald’s partnership

The school has developed a partnership with a local McDonald’s branch where, for three days each week, two boys have the opportunity to completely manage one of the coffee machines, serving both the restaurant and drive-through customers.

“They become quite independent by about day two,” says Natasha. “They do an induction and some training, but because of the experience they have here at school, they’re able to confidently manage the barista machine there at McDonald’s.”

“The boys are then on a five-week placement and we’re finding that they’re mostly getting job offers before the five weeks are up.”

Learning ‘growing up admin’

‘Food for Flatters’ is a programme specifically for Year 13 students that explores food to suit their tastes, student lifestyles, health and budgets. As well as finding their way around the kitchen, students gain an understanding of other important aspects of moving away from home.

“We cover some really fantastic different types of cooking methods and skills, and also expose them to a lot of what I call ‘growing up admin’,” she says.

“This week, for example, we have the nurse coming so she’s going to talk to them about health and all of those types of issues. For example, when do you not take a Panadol?

“Last week we had one of our leaders in the school come in and teach them how to tie a tie, so they could prepare themselves for job interviews, plus things like what types of ideas they would need to know about before going into a job interview, writing a CV... there’s a whole range of different topics we cover.”

Work placements

The hospitality programme is incredibly popular. Roughly 40 per cent of students take part in at least one of the courses offered and all classes are at full capacity.

“The boys have chosen it. I guess they see the activity that is going on within the department, with the two cafés running now,” says Natasha.

“I very regularly get calls from the industry; I’ve got boys out on work placements and getting jobs weekly at the moment, it’s just incredible … having cafés and restaurants actually just phoning and saying, ‘Have you got a boy? I’ve got this position going’.”

Interdisciplinary approach

Future Pathways Coordinator Win Jones says the programme staff include three trained chefs for students to learn from, along with industry skilled staff from the technology sector.

“I think the boys particularly see the transitioning into the workplace from these subjects as well.”

Teachers also advocate an interdisciplinary approach between the different vocational pathways programmes and students are able to give a range of pathways a go. Those taking part in the construction programme have created furniture for the hospitality programme’s café.

“They went through a Dragon’s Den process; Natasha chose what she wanted from their initial designs and then they made a prototype of the stool that was presented.”

Contextualised learning

Lead teacher of the Secondary Tertiary Programme Brad Smith says students who take part in the vocational pathways programmes spend one day each week at the local tertiary provider.

This learning is complemented by the three subjects they find most engaging at school and a homeroom class for the other three periods.

“They have one teacher who is overseeing their pastoral care, literacy, numeracy, and just have that one teacher to really take a strong ownership over their overall achievement,” he says.

“There’s a real mixture of students in their homeroom class and so there’s lots of conversations that go on between the different groups, we don’t have just one group for the automotive or just café.”

This allows for good cohesion between the different groups to achieve a shared goal or outcome.

As well as giving students real experience to take into the workplace, the programme aims to keep students interested in what they are learning, Brad says.

“It’s trying to contextualise learning for the students. They see far greater relevance in what they’re doing if the learning can be contextualised. I think the focus isn’t on NCEA credits and that kind of thing. As a result the students have more intrinsic motivation to complete tasks.”

The programme also aims to help students to shift their focus to the community while still learning curriculum content.

“There’s all the social responsibility, there’s all the numeracy, the literacy, lots of the communication skills involved,” says Brad.

“It crosses lots of areas of the curriculum, but perhaps in a way that is more fluid than what’s traditionally taught at school, where the boys move from maths to English to technology. It’s a more genuine process in my mind and they’re doing it without knowing they’re doing it.”


BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero, reporter@edgazette.govt.nz

Posted: 1:42 pm, 15 May 2019

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