October 26, 2004: Cooking up a hot new career

      October 26, 2004
      Contact: Squamish campus manager, Casey Dorin
      Tel: 604.983.7586

      (SQUAMISH, B.C.)—Susan Redman has more choices than ever these days. Since completing the Howe Sound Cooks Training program at Capilano College in June, the Squamish resident now has 55 countries worldwide where she can choose to work.

      After spending seven years as a cook and dietary aide at the Squamish General Hospital, Redman lost her job last year when the facility’s operations were privatized.

      “I immediately enrolled in the cooks training program at Capilano College,” she said. “While taking it, I applied for a new position at the hospital as dietary supervisor and got the post before I’d even completed my practicum.”

      Redman started straight away, completing the co-op portion of the college program on her own time. Within days, she was promoted into the position of site manager.

      Her employer, Sodexho, provides food and facilities management services worldwide. It operates at more than 500 locations in Canada alone, including corporations, educational institutions and health care organizations.

      “There are lots of opportunities with this organization,” Redman said. “My lead chef is from England and he worked for the same company there. People are from all walks of life, from all over the world. It’s a tremendous company.”

      Taking the cooks training program was the catalyst that move the 51-year-old into her new career. Along with providing a unique training opportunity to high school students, the program also provides training to local residents who are unemployed due to downsizing and layoffs. Many people laid off in the health sector, forestry sector and from BC Rail are using the program as a new career path.

      “The great thing about the program is that graduates can do a lot of things,” explained Casey Dorin, manager of Capilano College’s Squamish campus. “They can do an apprenticeship or go right into work. The career path over the long run is really good in this field.”

      The 2010 Olympic Games are expected to create a huge demand for certain occupations, chief among them workers in food-related services. Chefs and cooks are two of the occupations with the highest incremental growth projected from 2003 to 2015.

      “I took the five month program because I waned to be certified,” Redman said. “It really helped me with my new job. Once you have that program, you can continue to advance.”

      She added that while the training is short, it really packs in a lot of information. It also included some fun field trips to Vancouver Community College’s Culinary Arts department and to the Dubrulle International Culinary Arts School.

      “Our instructor, chef Chris Gray, was fantastic,” she said. “He did such a great job that some of my classmates decided to continue their culinary training. One was even accepted into the prestigious Cordon Blu culinary school in Ontario.”

      The cooks training program at Capilano College is unique because out of the 14 students accepted, seven were from high school and the rest came from the community at large. Howe Sound Secondary rearranged student’s schedules so that they had their high school credits completed by January, enabling them to do the college program from February to June.

      Redman, a mother of two grown daughters, said she was a bit nervous about being so much older than many of her classmates. But she saw an opportunity for change and ran with it. Today, she has a job that offers her all the challenges she thrives upon.

      “In my position I hire, fire, train, do scheduling, ordering, and work on the menus,” she said. “I’m responsible for 24 acute beds and 65 seniors in an extended, intermediate and special care facility. I really enjoy satisfying all the different dietary needs and have three chefs and 11 dietary aids reporting to me.”

      When she’s not at work, Redman spends her time with her husband gardening and boating. Their love of the water may see them transferring to Sechelt some time down the road.

      “Sodexho has a partnership with two organizations on the Sunshine Coast and now that I have my certification, I can go anywhere and be a relief cook. I can do many things with my papers.”

      In the meantime, Redman continues to take pleasure in her new position and is watching her youngest child move along a similar path of self-discovery.

      “My 23-year-old daughter, Nicole, just started the Accounting Assistant program at Capilano College in North Vancouver,” she said proudly. “She’s always been good with numbers and I’m sure she’ll do really well.”

      With her mother as an example, she’ll probably find many more opportunities and choices presenting themselves in the coming years.

      The next five-month Howe Sound Cooks Training program begins February 7, 2005 and runs to June 24, 2005. For more information, or to register, call 604.892.5322.

      Founded in 1968, Capilano College serves the communities of the Lower Mainland, Howe Sound, and the Sunshine Coast through campuses in North Vancouver, Squamish and Sechelt.

      In 1973, the College opened its permanent 34-acre campus in the Lynnmour area of North Vancouver. That same year, it also established a regional centre in Squamish to serve the Howe Sound communities of Squamish, Whistler, Mount Currie and Pemberton. In 1977, Capilano College opened the Sunshine Coast campus to serve the communities of that region.

      Enrolment totals 7,200 students in credit programs each term with an additional 7,000 people taking non-credit courses annually. The College offers a complete range of preparatory courses, university transfer courses, business and management studies, creative and applied arts programs, health and human services programs, plus a range of services in support of student learning and success. Credentials awarded include bachelor degrees, associate degrees, post-baccalaureate diplomas, advanced diplomas, diplomas, certificates and statements of completion.

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      For more information, contact Squamish campus manager, Casey Dorin, at 604.983.7586.