Tallangatta Longest LunchRunning a restaurant from the school; catering for community events; and using a semi trailer as a mobile commercial kitchen are all elements of the Hospitality program operating in Tallangatta.

Tallangatta Secondary College is a rural secondary school located in the township of Tallangatta, approx. 45kms east of the urban centre of Wodonga in North East Victoria.  With a student population of 445, Tallangatta Secondary College values its hospitality program and works hard to deliver it as an authentic learning opportunity for its students.

Since the late 90s, senior students have been undertaking Hospitality training as part of the national VET training qualification, Certificate II in Hospitality and Operations.  At this time, many schools were offering such a certificate however it was becoming increasingly more difficult, particularly for small, rural and remote schools, to deliver specialised modules as the commercial requirements of the certificate became more demanding.

Early in 2003, Tallangatta Secondary College hospitality teacher, Mary Grant, wrote an expression of interest for an initiative to provide a skills centre to support the delivery of the Hospitality certificate to rural students. The vision was a mobile commercial kitchen which would travel around to rural schools and be used as a base for training in the specific commercial modules within the Certificate II in Hospitality and Operations.

Delivered in Partnership

A partnership was developed with Wodonga Institute of TAFE and additional commonwealth funding was secured which enabled the vision to become a reality.  The result was a state-of-the-art mobile training kitchen, complete with commercial equipment, constructed within a semi-trailer. The facility was named HOW – “Hospitality On Wheels”.

Tallangatta Hopsitality Students

Tallangatta Hopsitality Students

Since 2005, the Hospitality program has grown from strength to strength.   The Certificate II in Hospitality, auspiced through Wodonga Institute of TAFE, runs as a two-year course and is completed during regular timetabled classes.  To support the workplace learning component the students operate the school training restaurant, The Deck’a’Dent Restaurant which runs from the school. The restaurant is open once a month and is open to the local community.  Students plan, prepare and deliver a 3-course set menu and prepare the dining room utilising the skills they have learnt throughout the certificate – clothing the table, folding napkins, polishing glass ware and silverware, layout for a set menu, front-of-house responsibilities including taking orders and dealing with dietary requests. The Deck’a’Dent Restaurant operates from April to November each year.

In 2008, Tallangatta Secondary College took over the full ownership and operation of the HOW facility.  Since then, the College has been able maintain the facility as a mobile training centre but have expanded its use to the commercial sector.  Whilst the HOW, along with Tallangatta Secondary College students, is usually seen at local  expos, shows, primary schools and community events, it has also been deployed for  the Sydney Easter Show, Blue Scope Steel, Bathurst V8 Super Cars, Rutherglen Estates, local weddings and as a Bushfire relief kitchen to provide meals for fire fighters and volunteers.

HOW has provided a significant marketing tool for our rural secondary college and a sustainable fundraising source which enables us to expand our school facilities and programs.  More recently, it has been as a prototype for a new outback hospitality trailer for the Queensland Government.

It is clear that the hospitality program, the students and the HOW form a key part of the Tallangatta Secondary College’s interaction and partnerships with the local and broader community.

For more information about the hospitality program and HOW facility, visit www.tallangatta-sc.vic.edu.au/tsc or call Joy Campbell on 0260 715000 

This article was written by Tim Croucher, a Year 11 student at Tallangatta Secondary College