Enterprises open door to world of work

A series of enterprises at Southern Cross Catholic Vocational College Burwood are extending the opportunities for internal and external students to delve more deeply into the world of work before they graduate.

Kassala Restaurant is the newest of Southern Cross Vocational Enterprises (SCVE) which began in 2011 to extend students’ knowledge and skills within their chosen Vocational fields with practical opportunities to create, serve, and build and maintain relationships with real clients.

Kassala Restaurant has joined a catering arm of the same name and provides both a venue for work experience and private events. Other schools can hire the space – including kitchen and chef – to host their own events. Casimir Catholic College Marrickville did this in August.

Students have the opportunity to see and take part in processes from start to finish.

– Nicole Massara

Student involvement has gone from an opt in, opt out model to rostered service periods for all hospitality students to gain experience in both front-of-house service and commercial cooking elements of working in a restaurant.

Both sustainable and ambitious in scope, the enterprises all align with industry benchmarks and expectations and keep their products and services competitively priced.

“All of the VET courses have an activated enterprise area so there is some sort of real work situation attached to them,” said SCVE acting general manager Nicole Massara.

An onsite café which opens to serve external VET students allows SCCVC Business and Retail students to gain cash handing and customer service skills that are part of the core requirements of their course. Furnishing students construct timber garden benches for retail, and Beauty Services students have regular clients that visit for manicures, pedicures and hair styling and maintenance.

Workshops and private events are hosted and catered for within the Enterprises’ Conference Centre. Entertainment students solidify event management skills through a one-day mock concert course that takes them through event sound and lighting and bump-in, bump-out procedures.

External clients and ones from within the Sydney Catholic Schools system have thrown their support behind the enterprises. “They love the fact that they are supporting the students’ learning,” Mrs Massara said. “Everything in our kitchen is made from scratch by chefs. Nothing frozen is brought in so students have the opportunity to see and take part in processes from start to finish.”

Year 12 Hospitality students at Southern Cross Tara Lockwood and Annalise Dell’Aia have both gained valuable skills through working at Kassala Restaurant functions.

This counts towards the 12 service periods they must complete as part of the work experience requirements of their course. Both have also gained work experience at well-known Sydney restaurants – Annalise at Rockpool Bar & Grill, and Tara at Moby Dicks Whale Beach.

“Enterprise helps you with service and gives you the guidelines to prepare,” Tara said. “You learn to manage your time to work to schedule and lower your stress.”

Annalise agreed.  “People don’t always realise how fast-paced and organized you have to be in the hospitality industry,” she said. The experience I get from school helps at work, because you know how the kitchen works in the real world.”

Kassala Restaurant details: 9568 8111, or visit

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