Irene San Andres who was recently named a finalist in the national Proud to Be a Chef Awards.
Irene San Andres who was recently named a finalist in the national Proud to Be a Chef Awards.

TAFE teacher's successful students

BERNADETTE Ryan is the type of teacher every student hopes will mentor them towards a successful career.

In the past six months, three of Ryan's Certificate IV in Commercial Cookery TAFE Grafton students have been recognised with outstanding industry accolades.This includes Irene San Andres who was recently named a finalist in the national Proud to Be a Chef Awards, Rebecca Mathieson won a $15k Bert Evans Scholarship in September and in June Steven Green made it into the top 10 at the national Worldskills Australia Apprentice Competition.

A fifth generation chef and sixth generation local farming stock, Ryan lives on the land her family has owned since 1862. She believes it's her farm gate-to-plate ethos and never-give-up teaching approach that helps her students become so successful.

"I have a passion for helping people fulfil their potential and I work hard to guide my students towards achieving victories throughout their studies. I want them to have the best shot at success. I don't let them say no, I encourage them to keep striving towards accomplishing what they set out to,” she said.

"Local employers are crying out for apprentice chefs. I can't tell you how many managers are calling me every week. I want to get the word out about how achievable earning a great cookery qualification is and how much fun you can have in this career because there are so many opportunities out there.

The tourism and experience services industry is currently the fifth largest employer in north NSW and, over the next three years the largest growth in employment will likely be chefs.

"Anyone can enjoy the same success, you just have to turn up and do the work,” she said.



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