Sydney Access

Intercontinental, Sydney

Seasoned Partners

The Intercontinental is now a seasoned Sydney Access employer providing quality work placements to young people studying Hospitality as part of their HSC. 'Sydney Access offers a wonderful opportunity for students' says Johanna Mueller, HR Administrator at this top hotel, 'but it's a great opportunity for us too'. Engaging its fourth student on the program proved to be a real breakthrough for both partners. Riley Berlecky, a year 12 student from Fort Street High School in Petersham, hit the luxury award-winning hotel almost running, with his enthusiasm, professionalism and skills. 'We could see we had a great student from very early on,' says Johanna.

Birthday present

Executive Chef, Tamas Pamer, was impressed with Riley's high level of motivation, willingness to learn and initiative. 'Riley turned up an hour early every day' says Tamas, 'and was ready to get on with anything we asked of him and often helped others without prompting.' As a result, Tamas offered Riley many opportunities. Riley took them all. From plating up, to making entrees, from pastries to buffets, from helping to run a Christmas party for 300, to being in charge of carving. He helped Tamas create a new recipe and loved every minute of it. To cap it all, Riley started working part time at the hotel on his 17th birthday, and will be talking to Riley about further opportunities for an apprenticeship after he finishes his HSC. A birthday Riley will remember!

It all started in Year 7

We could smell the scones as we entered the food technology classroom where I interviewed Riley. Year 7 had just cooked and eaten their creations. Not a crumb was left. Riley's love of cooking began in this room in Years 7 and 8 doing compulsory Food Technology. In Years 9 and 10 it was an elective. 'It became more challenging' comments Riley, 'more in depth, but I loved it and thought about running my own business one day.' By Year 11 and 12 Riley was able to study Certificates l and ll in Hospitality, which now count towards his HSC. 'I like working with different people, and in this job, no two days are the same.' There were opportunities at school to do real things but there was 'never the feeling of pressure' admits Riley. In Year 11 Riley was placed at the Hilton and now, at the Intercontinental, he knows about the real thing. 'I have felt stressed at times and it's hard work but I've had a really great experience.'

Cooking aside

'Tamas sat down with me at the start,' says Riley, 'to find out what my skills and experiences were already.' It was a great start to getting the best out of Riley. But what makes Riley that extra special student? 'I knew he'd be successful' his Food Technology teacher said to me. She knows. Tamas knows. And now I know. Riley met me on time. He greeted me with an open, confident stance, a firm hand-shake and a great smile. He maintains excellent eye contact and positive body language and he asks questions. He looks interested, listens well, clarifies things and answers with confidence. He is calm and assured. When Riley walked me to the door, he said thank you for giving him the opportunity to be interviewed. This time Riley, it's the other way around. Sydney Access thanks you and the Intercontinental for an outstanding quality placement.