Sydney Access

Sheraton on the Park, Sydney

Focused and driven

You only have to look at Victoria Papworth’s bright eyes and Cheshire-cat grin to see she is in her element at the five-star Sheraton on the Park hotel. Located in Sydney’s central business district, the Sheraton is one of 1000 Starwood properties worldwide. ‘The associates here are very focused and driven’ says Victoria ‘and they all love what they do.’ It is clear that Victoria loves it too. Victoria, a Year 12 student at Burwood Girls’ School, is on the third day of a five-day Sydney Access placement and is brimming with excitement at being immersed in Sheraton’s core values; Warm, Connected and Community.

Communication is key

As one of five children, Victoria feels at home in a big, busy place with a buzzing, noisy kitchen. ‘I love being around people,’ she says. Her family home doesn’t have five kitchens however, like the Sheraton, and she is just amazed at how it all works. ‘The communication between the kitchens is incredible. Everyone knows what they have to do. It just flows.’ Amy Hayward from Human Resources at Sheraton said, ‘There is a high demand in all our kitchens. This is a flagship hotel with a high quality team.’ It seems that Victoria has already noticed that teamwork is vital. ‘Nothing would function without teamwork.’ Victoria says, and shakes her head in disbelief. ‘Somehow, they all manage to get it done.’

Excellence all round

Sydney Access is known for its excellent students as well as its employers. The Sheraton boasts a string of awards for excellence and this year is no different. The Sheraton’s Botanica Brasserie restaurant was awarded Café/Brasserie of the Year for the second year running, and achieved a national excellence award to top it off. This week Victoria works alongside Patricia O’Reilly, the Senior Chef de Partie, who won her own commendation recently as Brand Ambassador. ‘This is a big kitchen, even for me,’ she says. ‘I think Sydney Access provides these students with great exposure.’ She nods her approval towards Victoria. ‘Victoria has picked things up really quickly,’ she says, ‘and I’m pleased with her work so far.’

It’s the people you meet

‘There are almost fifty roles in the five kitchens alone,’ says Amy, who helps students to settle in and keeps track of their progress during the week. It is Victoria’s dream to work with a pastry chef this week, but she will have to wait and see. ‘There are opportunities in a hotel like this to move around, up and across, and in different locations too.’ It has certainly been a great opportunity for Victoria to meet and work with so many different people. ‘It’s not just about the work’, Victoria points out, ‘it’s about all the things you learn and the people you meet.’ As we close the conversation, Amy looks over towards Victoria. ‘Oh’, says Amy, ‘would you like to meet Karl Beil, the Executive Pastry Chef tomorrow?’ Victoria’s eyes light up and she can’t help the wide grin. So dreams can come true? Sydney Access and The Sheraton have made sure of that.