Corey Aalders, Department of Labour and Advanced Education

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.

Amanda 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 cook trade while learning from a Red Seal certified chef.

Students get the chance to gain practical, hands-on job experience, earn credits towards 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. She 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 Chef’s in Halifax. Chef Clavel is an amazing mentor. He saw my potential and inspired me to do well and to turn out beautiful work. 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,” said Amanda.

As a full-time employee, Amanda 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. I watched myself grow and become more independent in my work.”

Amanda says participating in 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.”

“I am so grateful for the privilege to be part of ‘Serve it Up!’. I learned a huge amount about cooking and about 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.”

‘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 ‘TestDrive’ and ‘Building Futures for Youth’ 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 is focused on improving the number of apprenticeship opportunities in the province and helping apprentices complete their journey to certification.