For 18-year-old Sky, she is well on her way to achieving her career goals in hospitality.
The Seasons Cafe supported employee is gaining valuable experience and insights towards her dream of working in open employment.
Her bright blue eyes sparkle as she speaks of her passion around food and being in the industry.
“My goal is to hopefully go into open employment and became an apprentice to a chef.”
Sky is also passionate about vaulting (an equine sport with a feel of gymnastics and Calisthenics) which is known for its many benefits in improving co-ordination, balance and even stress reduction.
Yet, it’s come at a personal cost.
After complaining of a pain in her knee – which was starting to swell – she sought out answers. She hoped it wasn’t a rare case of arthritis. Working with both a physio and a doctor, the problem was soon spotted.
“So we went to the doctors. Fluid has gone into my knees so they put me on anti-inflammatories for 10 days,” Sky said.
“I just kept doing vaulting,” she said, until she realised that it was making her worse.
Despite her sporting injuries, Sky was determined to set clear goals during school.
“I started a goal mid high school,” said the bubbly teenager. “I said to Mum – I wanted to start my own cafe and restaurant,” Sky said.
“Mum goes, ‘you can’t be a chef straight away… you have to start from the bottom and work your way up’.”
Achieving her dreams one shift at a time, Sky joined the Seasons team in January 2017 after finishing Year 12 last year. Nine months later, an invitation came to go full time which Sky happily accepted.
She was no stranger to the genU Business Enterprises and Seasons businesses, which she believed has worked in her favour.
She said her prior experience set her up well. “I did work experience and they offered me a job when I finished school.”
Sky’s motivation to get into the hospitality industry was second to none, with a vast array of prior placements testifying to this proactive approach. She also spent time at Black Cup café in East Geelong and Chapel on Ryrie Street.
Her current role, as café assistant, is a varied one, something Sky said she enjoys.
“I sort of do a little of everything. I’m based in the cafe and then I serve people…I do a little bit of baking in the kitchen… I make coffees.”
Give her an oven and a mixing bowl any day and she’s in her element. True to her passion, on the day when REALISE visited her, she’d been busy in the kitchen baking some sweets.
Whipping up delicious cupcakes and biscuits for those around her is one of her favourite pastimes.
Current job aspirations surround further improving her coffee-making skills while also ramping up her baking prowess.
Those who work in cafes know the morning drill well, and Sky is no exception. During her school years, her parents woke her, though now she’s quite familiar with an early routine.
“At the start, it was a little bit hard to get into,” she says. “I have to get up at 5:30-6:00 – I set an alarm on my phone,” Sky said.
“I did start from 8am to 3pm… now I start work from 7:30am and work until 2:30pm.”
The routine has been further solidified, with a serendipitous connection. A family friend, who also works at the premises, drives her in the morning, sparing her a long journey on public transport.
Returning home from a busy day of work, there’s plenty of company around on the Moolap farm where she lives. Alongside her family which includes her parents, siblings and foster children, there’s no shortage of animal companions, either.
We’re talking dogs, cats, chooks, a friendly Shetland pony and racing horses.
As well as working towards her career goals, Sky has also been overcoming her personal barriers due to her sporting injuries.
She now does a series of exercises to regain strength. The physio suggested she undertake the exercises twice a day but she negotiated for only once a day.
Her diligence paid off. She’s starting to see successful results, with her physio agreeing that her knee was getting stronger.
“It doesn’t give me as much pain,” added Sky.
But every budding chef needs a holiday too, and Sky is only days away from taking a well-earned break. And in style too – cruising around North Queensland with her boyfriend Jayden and his family.