Amanda Jamieson discovered she had a knack for cuisine at an early age. She always enjoyed cooking in the kitchen, and preparing meals for her family and friends.
Jamieson was surprised by her own talent and wanted to take her skills to the next level.
This summer, she had the opportunity to work alongside Executive Chef Luis Clavel as part of the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency's Serve it Up! program. The program lets students explore careers in the trade while learning under a Red Seal-certified chef.
Students get the chance to gain practical, hands-on job experience, earn credits toward their high school diploma and earn hours towards an apprenticeship. It also allows them to grow their confidence and skills.
Thanks to the program, Amanda has already launched her career path and is hoping to continue training with Chef Clavel and to register as an apprentice directly after high school. "I'm only 17 and I've had the chance to learn from one of the top chefs in Halifax. Chef Clavel is an amazing mentor. He saw my potential and inspired me to do well and to turn out beautiful work," says Jamieson. "Along with passing on his skills, he's also opened my eyes to the opportunities available. We have so many amazing restaurants, and hotels here. You don't need to leave the province to make it in the trade."
As a full-time employee, Jamieson got to experience first-hand the demands of the trade. She learned right away that it can be challenging. But she also learned how rewarding it can be.
"Each day I learned something new," she says. "I watched myself grow and become more independent in my work."
Jamieson says attending the program was one of the best decisions she's made.
"It's opened so many doors for me. It gave me a running start that most in the culinary trade don't get. An opportunity like this, at a young age, is a pretty big deal," she says. "I am so grateful for the privilege to be part of Serve it Up! I learned a huge amount not only about cooking but what it will take for me succeed in the industry.
"This entire experience has re-confirmed my decision to turn my passion for the culinary arts into a career.
The Serve it Up! is a collaborative partnership between the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency, the Nova Scotia Tourism Human Resource Council, the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and the Halifax Regional School Board. It is one of three youth apprenticeship summer programs. Combined with the TestDrive and Building Futures for Youth programs, more than 680 students have been provided with paid summer employment and hands-on-trades experience in the construction, motive power and service sector trades.
The Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency works to ensure young people have the skills and training needed to fill the good jobs available now and in the future in Nova Scotia.