Driver Turned Chef is Redmako’s Trainee of the Year

Queensland, 14 July 2017 – Redmako Learning’s Hospitality Trainee of the Year for 2016 has been awarded to a young chef-in-the-making for his high level of self-reliance and development in the commercial kitchen.

The award is presented to an individual who has been outstanding in all aspects of their training, and this year it was Nambour resident Eric Benson who received the accolade for his proven personal and career growth, demonstrated keenness, and development in training.


Before starting his Certificate III in Commercial Cookery at Redmako Learning, 25-year-old Eric used to operate and drive heavy machinery in the oil and gas industry. Since then he has gone on to find a strong passion in the kitchen and win the title of Trainee of the Year out of more than 200 active and enrolled students.

“Having found my passion is something which is important for me,” he says.

“Now I can say that I can push myself to succeed in this industry, just to see how far I can take it. I never really want to settle for just getting by, it’s not me, and for me nothing compares to this. There’s just nothing like it.

“For me it’s not so much a physical place, it’s more about making myself happy whether I’m in fine dining or working in a café, bistro or pub…it doesn’t really matter where I am so long as I’m using good products to produce quality food that people enjoy.

“You can’t ask for more than that, right?”

Eric says his apprenticeship helped shaped his life, whereby he could translate all his training into improving his personal world, and being supported by trainers and fellow colleagues was an important aspect of succeeding.

He says learning to become a chef has changed his life.

“A few months ago, I did a charity event with my executive chef in Brisbane, and it was on the penthouse of the Brisbane River Apartment,” he says.

“There were 20-something people and I’m standing there looking at them, thinking that this time last year, I was working at a pub. It was just a really surreal moment for me – that I’ve come this far just from pushing myself at putting myself out there.”

Redmako Learning trainer Ali Orchard says Eric showed the most improvement over the past year, and it was important for young people like him to consider hospitality because the industry was in their hands.

She says it’s all about the support, and that having a trainer to talk openly to and ask questions of is an amazing benefit.

“Eric showed creativity, dedication and innovation in his approach to cooking, which is why he won the Trainee of the Year Award,” she says.

“He showed strong interests in sustainability, the environment and producing fresh produce. He is, and will be, an industry leader.

“The future of the hospitality industry is in the hands of these young people, we have a responsibility to ensure they have everything they need to keep it going, to train them and develop them.”

To be eligible for Redmako Learning’s Trainee of the Year Award, recipients had to complete or be due to complete a Redmako training course that led to a national recognised outcome or qualification, have a contract of training within their relevant state training authority, and excel in career and study achievements.

About Redmako Learning

Redmako Learning is a training specialist in niche industries including hospitality, business, tourism and events. We deliver up-to-date, dynamic and innovative Government certified training tailored by professionals, for professionals.

Redmako Learning delivers training and assessment through traineeships and apprenticeships, Recognition of Prior Learning, in the classroom, and through virtual and eLearning tools. We also work with employers to help attract and retain great staff through pathway to employment program placements, traineeships, and apprenticeships.

We are a market leader in providing dynamic tailored programs for students and jobseekers to meet the needs of our large, national employer database, and our success is evident through our ongoing partnerships with the largest employment services in Australia.

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