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Sarah is 20 years old, from Waimate in Timaru and currently working towards her NZQA Certificate in Cookery Level 4. She spoke to us about her experience training online so far, and her advice for other students keen to follow in her footsteps.

What do you enjoy most about training online with International Culinary Studio?

It’s so convenient. I can fit my training in around everything else that I’m doing, and there’s no waiting around either. I had previously done some hospitality study through a job, it was like an apprenticeship but you often had to wait a long time for an assessor to sign each piece of work off. It held things up and got quite frustrating. It is much faster and easier through International Culinary Studio. I like learning as I go and being able to progress at my own pace.

I’ve enjoyed all of the modules so far, I love that the NZQA Certificate is so comprehensive. We’ve studied a wide range of cooking techniques, from stocks and sauces to egg dishes and puddings. I think it’ll stand me in really good stead, whatever I decide to go on and do within the industry.

How do you stay on track with your training with the course being online?

I thought studying online would be hard but I’m really enjoying it. At first, I was a bit worried that it would be hard to stay motivated and that I’d let myself down, but it hasn’t been like that at all. I set a goal of completing 1-2 assessments per week. If I get through more, then that’s great but if I can only manage one, that’s ok as well. I complete as much of the theory as I can throughout the week and then do the practicals on my day off, usually organised to fit in around dinners.

The mentors have been very useful, and I’d recommend making full use of them while you’re studying. They’re always happy to answer questions and to provide guidance. It provides valuable support, especially with the courses being online.

Have you always wanted to work in hospitality?

I did a lot of Home Ec classes when I was at school and then went on to take some polytechnic classes. That’s how I got into my first job. Apart from that, I’ve always cooked at home and with my family, and enjoyed it. I’m working in a pub while I’m studying mostly behind the bar but I would like to spend some more time in the kitchen.

What would you like to do with your qualifications? What is your dream career?

For the time being, I’m going to go with it and see where it takes me, I don’t have a particular place in mind. As long as I’m working in hospitality, especially on the cooking side, I’ll be happy! I will probably look at spending some time overseas in the future, maybe working on cruise ships. The great thing about hospitality training is that you’re not restricted. The qualifications can take you anywhere. I’m excited to see the path that they take me on.

For more information on the NZQA qualification that Sarah is working towards, click this link.