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Local MP supports Hospitality upgrade at Box Hill Institute


Local member for Box Hill Paul Hamer MP recently showed his support for Box Hill Institute’s Hospitality facilities upgrade project, via a tour of the facilities and areas currently being upgraded at Elgar campus and funded by the Victorian Government.

Speaking after the tour, Paul Hamer said it was great to be back on campus at Box Hill Institute and to have a briefing and progress report in person on how this important project was tracking.

“Everyone knows how difficult 2020 was for the hospitality industry and for an Institute such as Box Hill – where hands on and practical training is crucial to what you do – the global pandemic has made this very important part of hospitality training much more difficult,” he said.

Vital part of our economy

“Hospitality is a vital part of our economy and lifestyle in Melbourne, in Victoria and throughout Australia. So, it’s terrific to see this project happening through COVID-19 stimulus funding to upgrade the Institute’s hospitality teaching and training areas.”

Box Hill Institute received funding from the Victorian Government’s TAFE Asset Maintenance Fund of $1,637,866 to carry out the Hospitality upgrade project, as well as provide construction work for local trades people in the Box Hill area.

Box Hill Institute has proudly offered professional training to the ever-evolving Hospitality Industry for over 30 years, with Fountains Restaurant as its premier training restaurant.

The Hospitality upgrade project incorporates the 150-seat restaurant and bar – Fountains Restaurant, as well as specialist teaching areas including four commercial kitchens, a barista training room, a culinary theatre, and a specialist wine training space. The project involves essential maintenance and an upgrade to provide a safe, appropriate, contemporary, and industry-standard training environment for students and staff.

Meeting with staff and students

The revitalised Fountains Restaurant is designed to be a beautiful modern space that will be interesting and a pleasure to visit, while still being practical and versatile to accommodate a range of functions, events and restaurant styles.

As well as touring facilities being upgraded, Paul Hamer met with BHI staff to find out more about the project and the Hospitality programs. He met with Diane Bates, Dean, Faculty of Creative Industries and ICT; Andre Martin, Head of Department, Hospitality, Tourism and Land Sciences; and Rachel Medew, Operations Manager, Culinary Arts and Hospitality.

He also chatted to Hospitality students Emma Auld and David Ford, both studying Commercial Cookery at BHI. Emma is a lawyer who loves cooking and wants to change career, while David is a career chef looking to refresh his skills and move into teaching.

Executive Director, Educational Delivery, Ms Jane Trewin said working in a modern, state of the art and purpose-built kitchen and restaurant positively impacts students and staff in so many ways.

Best of the best in training and experience

“So, the Covid-19 stimulus funding for the Hospitality upgrade at BHI is extremely exciting. It’s been an incredibly tough time for the Hospitality industry in Australia, but particularly in Melbourne with the much longer lockdowns we’ve experienced.

“This upgrade will help to grow student and staff numbers and support this vital industry sector to help it get back on its feet.

“People want to support the Hospitality industry, they love eating out in restaurants, cafes and bars – BHI will be in the fortunate position of offering the best of the best in training and experience for the industry moving forward,” Ms Trewin said.

Paul Hamer agreed and said it was an exciting time for BHI and the hospitality sector. “I think the global pandemic has given people the time and possibility to reassess their lives and work … and to ask themselves – do I really love what I’m doing?

Shoots of recovery in Melbourne look promising

“If you’ve always had a passion for food and cooking, it’s the right time for a reset. Hospitality isn’t just a fill-in job, it’s a fantastic career that leads to an amazing choice of work options.

“It’s a vibrant sector that delivers interesting and key jobs for students that are current and needed, and the shoots of recovery in Melbourne and Victoria look promising,” he said.

Local member for Box Hill, Paul Hamer MP, will visit the Hospitality facilities at BHI again once the upgrade is complete. He said he looks forward to seeing the difference between the under-construction tour to the launch of the new upgraded facilities tour, to really understand how much difference it will make to BHI and the industry.

The Hospitality upgrade project is due to be completed by April 2021. A variety of events are planned to open and launch the newly upgraded Hospitality facilities, including a special degustation menu event at Fountains Restaurant later this year.