With almost a decade of experience under his belt, Derrick Du Plessis made the leap from cook to chef by recognising his skills to earn a new qualification and a promotion.
At just 16-years-old, Derrick felt the call of the kitchen, completing Certificate II level studies at TAFE Queensland.
For nine years, he honed his skills to prepare food "as artwork on a plate" before learning he could use his experience to help him earn a new qualification.
Within a month of receiving a Certificate III in Commercial Cookery (SIT30816) through the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) process, Derrick was promoted from cook to chef at a busy city restaurant.
"Chef Jason spent the time with me, individually working through all my knowledge and experience needed to obtain the qualification and my chef papers," Derrick says.
"I am currently managing the morning shifts at the busy Mi Casa restaurant. Having the recognition through TAFE Queensland helped me to transition from cook to chef in a difficult industry all in the span of one month."
As a seasoned cook and now chef, Derrick is familiar with the competitive nature of the industry for up-and-coming and also experienced workers.
"The hospitality industry is booming but a good chef with resilience and diligence is in high demand. TAFE Queensland is the place to go to prepare for these roles," he says.
"The assistance (teacher) Jason Ford gave me surpassed my expectations and I was glad for the time he spend to help me obtain my papers. To potential students I would say don’t stay stuck in the cook position, see your closest TAFE to find a pathway for yourself. This is a demanding but exiting industry and worth joining."
Derrick took the opportunity to turn his experience into a qualification thanks to the Queensland Government's FREE RPL funding initiative, with eligible Queenslanders able to complete selected qualifications for free.
Free RPL is available across a range of industry areas, including agriculture, tourism, community services, health, business and more.
Learn more about the Queensland Government’s subsided training options and see where TAFE can take you.