LEELA Subramaniam dropped a commerce and law double degree studies to follow her heart and is now an award winning junior sous chef.
A family tragedy made Subramaniam, of McCrae, think about what made her happy during the second year of her Bachelor of Commerce/Law studies.
She had worked in hospitality since the age of 14, and decided cookery was her calling.
“I was actually already working as a cook and I really enjoyed it,” she said. “I immersed myself in my work and it kept my mind occupied. It was kind of therapeutic.”
Subramaniam began a Certificate III in Commercial Cookery apprenticeship through the Chisholm Institute, while building her practical skills at an Italian restaurant.
She studied at Chisholm’s Mornington Peninsula campus (where she won several awards) and appreciated the smaller class sizes.
“I really enjoyed the variety of everything you learn,” Subramaniam said. “You get to test out a lot of things.”
During her time at Chisholm Subramaniam was the Victorian winner of the 2022 AUS-TAFE Culinary Trophy, third year apprentice category, and awarded a bronze medal in the national finals. She also won Apprentice of the Year at the 2023 Chisholm Education Awards.
“My teachers were always there cheering me on. Entering the awards really gave me more stepping stones and my resume is really glowing now,” she said.
Having recently been promoted to junior sous-chef at the restaurant where she works, Subramaniam says she would like to work at a Michelin-star restaurant in London before eventually opening her own 20-seater fine dining restaurant “and work towards winning some chef hats”.
Aiden Evans, of Dromana, winner of this year’s Bill Norling Automotive Excellence award at Chisholm, is a motorsports fan and one day hopes to build and race his own rally car.
He does iRacing and goes “drifting” with friends at Winton on the weekends.
“I’ve always really liked cars,” Evans said. “My granddad was a really good mechanic and fabricator, so he got me into it and gave me a passion for it.”
In year 11, he began training for a career in the automotive industry with VET studies and did a work placement at Mornington Mitsubishi and Isuzu Ute.
This led to a school-based apprenticeship which saw him work on Wednesdays and study at TAFE on a Friday, while completing years 11 and 12.
“It was really great because it gave me a jumpstart into an apprenticeship and took time off it (you can gain credit for some of the units),” he said.
Now in his third year of his Certificate III in Light Vehicle Mechanical Technology apprenticeship with All Tune Auto, Evans says the teachers at Chisholm “have been my favourite part of the experience”.
“They were always very friendly, always very informative; we always had fun and they made sure all the hands-on parts were very interesting.”
Evans’s work experience included working with Red Bull Racing at the V8 Supercars at Sandown in 2022.
“That was out of this world. The opportunity came through my apprenticeship company. I helped out in the pits and on Monday morning, they took me for a few hot laps in a supercar.”
His role as an apprentice mechanic ranges from servicing cars and doing repairs, to bigger jobs like head gaskets or diagnostics.
“Diagnostics is actually my favourite part of the job,” Evans said. “I love figuring out what’s wrong with cars.
“Chisholm taught me a lot of stuff to do with older cars and electrical stuff, which I’ve been using quite a lot.”