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Upskilling in Lockdown


Italian-born Simone Alfonsi worked as a Chef de Partie in a Thai restaurant in Castlemaine, Naam Pla Thai Kitchen, preparing delicious tom yum and curries before deciding to enrol in the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment at Box Hill Institute.

During the lockdown in 2019, Simone's work hours were cut due to COVID-19 restrictions and so he decided to make the most of his extra time by learning something new. He said, "I chose a course that could improve both my personal and my work skills."

Simone had hoped that the training and assessment course would help him improve his presentation skills and English language skills. He said, "I was interested in how it would have been to go back to school after so long and in a different language."

 At first, the range of content, detail and work covered in his course surprised Simone. He said, "I had a lot of support before, during, and even after the course. The online delivery was very organised and well done."

Towards the end of his course, as restrictions began to ease, Simone was needed back at work and, as his work hours increased, it became increasingly difficult to balance work and his study load. He said, "However, I have to admit that it was the part that I loved the most, challenging and overcoming [is] the only way to progress."

Simone is now a proudly qualified trainer and assessor and his experience while studying has him contemplating further opportunities for his career. He said, "I was thinking, in the future not so far, to take my learning even further and study food science."

For anyone thinking of engaging in further study, Simone has some good advice. He said, "You never waste your day if you use it to learn."