Updated: Aug 30, 2019
Spotless Integrated is a leading provider of integrated facilities services across Australia and New Zealand. Spotless Epicure is contracted by the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) to deliver a suite of catering services throughout the MCG. As well as their proud tradition as the home of cricket and football, the MCG also plays host to conferences, music concerts, marathon finishes and a variety of other events which require a wide range of ‘behind the scenes’ staff to run smoothly. These range from security, IT, logistics and catering among many others. Spotless Epicure through the MCG provides catering and hospitality services all year round to all events held there.
The City LLEN first approached Spotless Integrated in late 2017 to explore a range of ways we could work together, as large employer of young people and part time workers in a growing industry; we had a lot in common. This relationship lead to Spotless Integrated partnering with the LLEN in 2018 to run an Industry Immersion day for VCAL students as well as offering SWL opportunities for VCAL VET students.
he hospitality industry is an ever-growing industry within the Melbourne City Local Government Area. Melbourne’s reputation for being the culinary capital of Australia, together with an ever-growing media focus on food and wine is the driving force behind the hospitality industry growth within our LGA.
Jenny Cao is a Year 12 VCAL student from St Aloysius College. She is studying Certificate II in Kitchen Operations and Hospitality. Jenny found out about the SWL opportunity with Spotless Epicure when the SWL Coordinator from City LLEN came out to her school to teach VCAL students how to access SWL opportunities. Jenny showed interest in wanting to apply for the SWL opportunity with Spotless Epicure. With the support and recommendation from her VCAL teacher we made it happen.
Following her successful pre-placement interview and completion of the appropriate paperwork, Jenny was accepted and commenced her placement during the week of the Australian Football League (AFL) Grand Final. Jenny said it was:
'An exciting time to be working as there’s a buzz around the place. It’s an enjoyable challenge working in an environment that’s full of energy…'
Most of all Jenny enjoyed working as part of the kitchen operations team. She was designated different tasks everyday often working with different people. Jenny enjoyed the variety as this meant she got to experience a wide range of task and duties within a commercial kitchen environment. Jenny felt supported throughout her placement by the kitchen staff. Being in a busy commercial kitchen environment there were often times when the student had to think on her feet and practice her communication skills by seeking advice from her supervisors.
Jenny explained that:
A service menu is planned out by the Chef de Cuisine. Every staff member on the service line needs to work efficiently and cohesively.
The service line is like a conveyer belt. Every person is designated a task. It’s fast paced and requires team work and precision. Everyone on the team needs to know what they are doing to ensure food is plated up correctly and ready for front of house staff to collect and deliver'
Jenny enjoyed learning about all the different types of dietary requirements, how to label meals accordingly so that customers with dietary requirements were delivered the correct meal and the consequences to customers with allergies or other important food preferences. In extreme cases food allergies can be fatal so Jenny was required how to prepare meals so that cross contamination does not occur. This relates directly to her Certificate II studies in Hospitality and Kitchen Operations.
The feedback from Jenny’s supervisors at Spotless Epicure has been very positive. Gregory Nicholls, the Culinary Services Manager who arranged the student’s placement, advised that:
'The students’ supervisors have mentioned that Jenny is enthusiastic, hardworking and willing to learn and take directions. Jenny is able to adapt well to working with different people. She is friendly and is able to work well under pressure.'
Gregory advised that:
“Admittedly the student was thrown in the deep end commencing placement leading up to the Grand Final where it’s estimated that more than 100,000 people attended. But it’s a good experience for the student as it gives the student a realistic experience of whether or not she’s cut out for hospitality work.”
Gregory mentioned that moving forward the student has been offered causal employment with the Spotless Epicure kitchen operations team as a result of her SWL placement with them. Gregory has encouraged the student to keep an eye out for other roles available within Spotless and he hopes Jenny stays on with Spotless as he sees her progressing to other roles beyond the kitchen. He encourages all students to try out as many different hospitality roles as possible so that they can broaden their experience and knowledge which will enable more informed career pathway choices.
Gregory advised that he is happy to continue working with the City LLEN to offer SWL opportunities to VCAL students. He sees this as an excellent opportunity for students who are interested in hospitality pathways and for Spotless a terrific way to recruit good staff.
For Jenny her SWL placement with Spotless Epicure has given her an insight into back of house operations within a hospitality business.
She advised that before her SWL placement she did not quite understand how the back of house team function as it was not visibly obvious to her. Now that she has worked in a commercial kitchen, she understands that the back of house team must work efficiently and quickly to be able to support the front of house team to deliver a smooth and efficient service to patrons.
Jenny is delighted that she has been offered employment with Spotless Epicure. She intends to keep working for Spotless whilst trying to figure out what she would like to do beyond secondary school. Jenny encourages VCAL students, especially those who are studying a Hospitality
VET Certificate, to do an SWL placement with Spotless Epicure. Jenny’s SWL placement has been a positive and educational experience.
All the skills that the student has acquired through this SWL opportunity relate directly to her VCAL and VET Certificate II studies in Hospitality and Kitchen Operations.
Well done Jenny and thank you Spotless!