Macquarie students Katrina Jing and Shirley Chan earned money and life skills in Macquarie’s Campus Life kitchen while studying for their degrees.
Katrina Jing began her Macquarie University career in the Campus Life kitchen over eight years ago as an international undergraduate student studying a Bachelor of Commerce in Professional Accounting. She then studied a Master of Commerce and after graduating, joined Macquarie’s Campus Life office as an accountant where’s she’s been working ever since.
Meanwhile, Shirley Chan has been working with Peter ‘Chef’ Brewty for over two years and is about to finish her Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood Education Birth to 12).
Both Katrina and Shirley say that working in the Campus Life kitchen not only helps financially but also fosters career skills like team work, managing people and learning about different cultures. Katrina, from China, says it also helped her English language skills as she was immersed in a workplace where only English was spoken.
Shirley says that her work with ‘Chef’ and the rest of the kitchen staff translates to her degree in tangible ways.
“I learn about different cultures and their dietary requirements, which you need to appreciate when you are looking after children from cultural backgrounds other than my own,” Shirley says. “You learn a lot, and Chef is understanding if you have exams. You don’t get that understanding at many other jobs when you are trying to work and study.”
Shirley first applied during O Week with only some prior experience working at food outlet Subway. Katrina contacted the kitchen via Campus Life careers.
“I didn’t have much experience,” Katrina says.
As well as making daily soups and the weekly slow cooked stews for students and staff, the busy kitchen, in the Atrium, makes food for Marxine’s Cafe (in the Hub Food Court), Crunch Cafe at the Sport and Aquatic Centre, and the Mac Shop. They also cater for events on campus.
Executive Chef of Campus Life, Peter ‘Chef’ Brewty, looks for reliability and teamwork in his staff and encourages them to think about the kitchen as a stepping stone in their career path.
“This isn’t just a job,” he says. “We are a team and you learn life skills that help when you finish your degree. I’ve had students deal with group projects better because they can manage personalities and organise a team to work together.”
Macquarie University Campus Life lists job openings online.
Macquarie also has a career and employment service.