In this episode of Learning From Practice, we profile a special culinary arts program offered to Aboriginal students by Stó:Lō Aboriginal Skills & Employment Training, or SASET.
SASET Culinary Arts is a pre-apprenticeship program located in Chilliwack and designed for students who love cooking but face stiff employment barriers. Students are all Aboriginal adults who are either receiving social assistance or who are unemployed but not receiving Employment Insurance. They not only learn cooking skills; they also learn a lot about how to get and keep a job.
The curriculum is fashioned after the foundations of Professional Cook Level 1, offered in the full certification program falling under the Industry Training Authority. And although this program, which has been offered by SASET since May of 2012, is specially tailored for these students, the program has also been offered in other settings – one might say it is “tested and true”. Since May 2012, 33 students have enrolled in SASET’s Culinary Arts program and of those, 19 have graduated, going on to jobs in the food industry or pursuing advanced apprenticeship training.
14 students were enrolled in the program we visited. We caught up with them two weeks into their 16-week program.