Star student Nick credits hands on learning for wins

Nick Gillan with West Coast Institute’s Michelle Hoad and Dr Russel Perry.
Nick Gillan with West Coast Institute’s Michelle Hoad and Dr Russel Perry.

The 23-year-old, who also won the Joondalup institute’s top apprentice award at a recent ceremony, had completed a psychology and sports science degree when he followed his dream of becoming a pastry chef.

‘I decided to make the career change while I still could, to go and do something I actually enjoy,’ he said.

‘West Coast has not only provided me with an opportunity to follow my career dreams, they have given me a learning experience like no other.’

Nick is completing his apprenticeship at Lawley’s Bakery where he starts work at 5pm and finishes at 2am, baking breads, pastries, cakes and savoury snacks.

Nick was nominated by two of his lecturers for his enthusiasm and for his personal and professional development since starting his apprenticeship in January last year.

‘I owe a lot of thanks to my lecturers for getting me where I am today,’ he said.

‘They are so knowledgeable and have world wide experience, plus my training is hands on, so I get to learn new things on the job every day, not just read about it in books.

‘One of my highlights throughout my apprenticeship so far was travelling to Korea to compete in the Australian Culinary Federation’s Culinary Olympics, my team won a silver and bronze medal in the dessert category.

‘Once qualified, I hope to work in a fine dining restaurant creating and baking fine pastries and specialising in chocolate and sugar work.’

Nick’s cookery lecturer Nathan McMurdo said his student had excelled in a short time.

‘He always puts in 100 per cent and I can see him working among the best in the industry once he graduates,’ Nathan said.

Institute managing director Michelle Hoad said Nick’s dedication and appreciation for training was infectious to those around him.

‘His commitment, enthusiasm and drive to be the best he can be is extraordinary,’ she said.