An opportunity for working cooks to gain valuable certification at Selkirk College in Nelson begins Feb. 15.
The well-established professional cook training program has been a cornerstone of Selkirk College’s hospitality training for decades. Students interested in culinary careers have been taking the Professional Cook 1 andProfessional Cook 2 levels based out of Mary Hall at the Tenth Street Campus which has equipped them with the knowledge and skills for gainful employment.
To help fill demand for a continually growing industry, the BC Industry Training Authority has approved SelkirkCollege to add a special cohort of Professional Cook 3 training that will enable those working in the industry and those with accumulated hours to put the finishing touches on their national Red Seal standard.
“Selkirk College has never offered this level before,” says Bob Falle, chair of the school of hospitality, tourism and cosmetology. “We have been faced with increasing demand from those working in the industry and those looking for this level of training. We have the instructors and a modern training facility to help people reach this important standard in their profession. Having a Red Seal will open up additional doors for those who want to validate their skills and knowledge in the cooking profession.”
Professional Cook 3 is the most advanced credential offered in this apprenticeship. The program being offered at Selkirk College beginning in February is six weeks and meets all requirements of the national Red Seal standard for cooks.
The program is available to professional cooks who have completed all requirements of the Professional Cook 2 orogram. The Industry Training Authority allows professional cooks who have not completed a formal program,but have attained 5,000 hours of work time in a commercial kitchen to apply to challenge the program for direct entry.
Upon completion of the program, students will be competent with all major techniques and principles used in cooking, baking and other aspects of food preparation. In addition to demonstrating a mastery of cooking skills,a professional cook at this level will gain knowledge to plan and cost menus and recipes, and understand the communication skills necessary to take a leadership role in the kitchen.
“Any labour force study done in recent years cites chefs and cooks as one of the biggest growth areas for employment,” says Falle. “We regularly receive calls from employers searching for trained cooks. This kind of training will be invaluable for those individuals who want to capitalize on a career that is full of endless opportunity.”
One of the latest studies by the provincial government and incorporated into the BC Tourism Labour MarketStrategy shows that the Kootenay Rockies region of the province will have a higher percentage of job openings due to retirements in the workforce. By 2020 it is anticipated the region will have 3,089 job openings with a labour shortage of 438. The food and beverage sector will be one of the hardest hit.
“The timing of this course is important,” says Falle. “We need an educated workforce in our region with individuals able to meet the challenges and needs of the future. This is one small step, but a key direction we hope to continue in future years.”
To register for the Professional Cook 3 Program go to selkirk.ca/program/cook.