As a chef, Stuart Rimmington has worked around Australia and overseas, but it’s his current role as a TAFE SA cookery lecturer which he’s most passionate about.
“TAFE is the pinnacle of vocational education and I want to support my students to achieve their qualification because they’ll have skills that will last a lifetime,” Stuart says.
“Without VET I would not have had the chance to travel or experience the world in the way that I have. Promoting cookery as a career and lifestyle is something I am proud to do daily and do so emphatically working for TAFE SA.”
His dedication to vocational training was recognised at this year’s SA Training Awards, presented by the SA Skills Commission, where he was named the VET Teacher of the Year.
Inspired by his experience as a TAFE student in Western Australia, Stuart is a strong advocate for VET and the opportunities it provides.
“I wasn’t a great student, but my lecturers cared for my progression, supported me when nervous, encouraged me to fix my mistakes and did so naturally. This instilled a nature and manner within me that I have carried through in my career,” he says.
Stuart brings to his teaching role the experience gained from working in fine dining restaurants and hotels in Australia, the United Kingdom and Canada.
His resume includes a stint as the senior executive chef for the Prendiville Group which has six hotels at locations across WA including Karratha, Broome and Fremantle.
“Each hotel had a different demographic and I had to spend time at each of them doing a range of things from planning menus to training staff,” he says.
Sharing his skills and teaching others in the workplace helped him realise how much he enjoyed training and making a difference to the people he worked with.
He returned to TAFE in WA as an educator, determined to instil in his students the same approach and confidence that he received.
“If I can impact one student’s future career the way my lecturers shaped mine, I will be able to retire knowing I’ve done something worthy,” Stuart says.
He took up a role with TAFE SA’s cookery team two years ago and has been a leader in the development of the program area’s online learning model, while also supporting his students through the challenges of COVID-19.
Stuart will represent SA at the Australian Training Awards in November.