'The sky's the limit' for South Burnett chef
THE South Burnett's own professional chef and caterer Roberta Schablon has gone a long way in her career.
Mrs Schablon started as a TAFE Queensland hospitality graduate before starting her business 'The Saucy Fork' in 2010, before getting officially recognised as a local produce user in 2016.
However, before 2017, she had always regretted not getting her qualification as a chef.
"I didn't know where I was going when I was 18 or 19-years- old, and so I didn't know how a chef's course would benefit me and my current career,” she said.
Mrs Schablon said she was convinced she should go back to TAFE to complete a course, but just didn't have the time to finish three full years as both a mother and business owner.
That was until South Burnett Food Ambassador Jason Ford told her about TAFE Queensland's Recognition of Prior Learning opportunities.
This is where her years of industry-related experience is credited toward her qualification.
"She was already doing the job, but she just didn't have the qualification,” he said.
Mr Ford believed it was important for Mrs Schablon to get her qualification, as there is a shortage of qualified chefs in Australia.
"The government is trying to help stop this shortage by finding and funding people who worked in the industry, and who are really skilled but never did their qualification,” he said.
"With a qualification, one day if Roberta wanted to, she can employ an apprentice chef. You can't do that unless you're a qualified chef to train them.”
Mr Ford believes they need to keep people getting their qualifications so that apprenticeships can be created, to start filling that short fall in the industry.
"That can also be the key to helping your business grow, by bringing on a trainee,” he said.
Mrs Schablon received some government funding as a mature aged student in the field and became a qualified chef in just over one year.
"It was really good, and I learned so many things that I was and wasn't doing, and how I can improve,” she said.
After receiving her qualification, Mrs Schablon has been a well-known chef not only around the region, but also at events around Queensland.
"We want to encourage people here to become chefs because the sky's the limit,” Mr Ford said.
"Roberta is being filmed for the TV series Great Day Out, cooking with celebrity chef Alastair McLeod, and later this month she'll be on stage at South Bank with MasterChef's Matt Preston.
"It goes to show that you can do anything from travelling, going on TV, meeting celebrities and having a lot of fun along the way, just by being in and excelling in this profession.”