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Lismore local Nikolas Vilkelis is on track to follow in the footsteps of his Grandfather, who is a successful restaurant owner and Chef, after securing himself a Hospitality Apprenticeship.

According to Nik, cooking is in his blood, with both his Aunty and Mum also having careers in the food industry.

“I’ve always had an interest in this area and I enjoy cooking for other people, making them smile and getting compliments,” he said.

The Apprenticeship came at a good point in Nik’s life, where he was unsure about what to do with his future.

“I wasn’t very good in school. I bummed around for a long time. I wasn’t doing much at all, I was really lost,” Nik said.

“Luckily ETC had a course coming up that motivated me to take up some training. So I enrolled into the Certificate III in Hospitality Yes Chef program.”

Nik completed his work experience at the Lismore Worker’s Club and after only a short time, he was offered a position.

“I think I really proved myself during the second day. Someone had called in sick, so they (Lismore Workers) offered me to come back that night for some paid work, so I did,” Nik said.

“At first I didn’t want the job, because I didn’t want to be paid apprentice wages, but then I thought about it, it’s only for a year and I’m really happy now.”

Nik is proud of how far he has developed both personally and professionally.

“When I first started I basically couldn’t do anything, but now I have progressed quite a bit. Now I’d like to expand my skills even further.”

“My career goal is to have a Restaurant that everyone loves, like my grandad’s 20,000 cows here in Lismore – it is really popular and has been here for around 38 years.”

Nik thanked ETC and the Lismore Workers Club for the opportunity.

“Yes Chef is a good way to get your foot in the door, especially if you have no experience but are really interested in this type of job. I’ve learnt so much and am really thankful for the support,” he said.

Lismore Workers Club Group HR Manager Murray Kirshaw said Nik had a promising future ahead.

“Nik has impressed us a great deal. He has a fantastic attitude and a real passion for food. He knows what direction he wants to go in which is really important,” Mr Kirshaw said.

If you want a career in Hospitality, or have the opportunity for students to come and train at your facility, please contact your local ETC office.



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