A Queensland high school has seen the potential in future brewing jobs, launching a school-based brewing course for its students today.
Redcliffe State High School has introduced a Certificate III in Food Processing (Microbrewing) ahead of TAFE Queensland’s plans for a similar course next year.
Principal Shona McKinlay and her team saw that while the wine industry had a number of school-based training options in the state, there were none for the state’s burgeoning craft beer industry, leading the school to independently invest in a brewkit and training for staff to enable them to deliver the course.
The initiative – 3Eagles Brewing – was launched officially today at an event with Shannon Fentiman, Minister for Communities, Women and Youth, and local member for the Redcliffe district Yvette D’Ath, who is also Minister for Justice, Training and Skills.
Redcliffe SHS worked with training provider Calibre to develop the two-year course, and delivery of the Cert III training will begin in February 2020. It is being offered to 22 students from Year 11.
McKinlay said brewing was increasingly a viable career path for students.
“We saw how many breweries were opening up, and I thought, there’s an opportunity there for our students at school to go into a new and emerging field,” explained McKinlay.
“We’ve been thinking about it for a couple of years and spoke to a couple of people on my staff.
“We had to look around and find a course, that was the most difficult part of getting this started – finding someone who was willing to partner with us and get the course going.”
Three teachers, David Christie, Andrew Coady and Phil Morrison will lead the course, and have been in training since April to help deliver it, under the 3 Eagles Brewery banner. They were also presented with their own certificates for graduating the course at the ceremony.
While Redcliffe SHS launched the programme independently of the state government’s Craft Beer Strategy, McKinlay said the focus on craft brewing from them, and the sheer number of breweries popping up in Queensland meant that launching the course seemed the forward-thinking route.
“We read the Craft Beer Strategy that Cameron Dick released last year, and thought, well we’re surely on the right path,”she said.
Minister Fentiman, who attended the launch event, said the course “makes so much sense”.
“We’re going to need 20,000 new workers in hospitality and tourism in the next two years. So the students that are enrolled in this course next year are getting a fantastic head start in a rewarding career in hospitality, tourism and brewing, so I want to congratulate everyone involved in this phenomenal project.
“To get a craft brewing certificate in a high school, I can’t imagine the challenges you had to face.
“The skills these students are getting [are] not just about brewing the beer, the customer service skills these students will get, their Responsible Service of Alcohol, this sets them up for a wonderful career in hospitality.”
She said that the department had approved the certificate, and the school would be getting funding from the state government towards its goals.
“This is about preparing the next generation of hospitality workers with the skills they need to be work ready when they leave this great school,” she said.
Principal McKinlay said the team invested in a brewkit, a 3-vessel brew system from Cheeky Peak Brewery.
“Because of the size of our brewery we can only do 22 kids at a time,” she said, although 36 applied.
In future, the school would be looking to expand the Certificate III.
“Just at this moment we’re making sure we have the basics right, and then looking at outside of school courses, whether it’s adults or kids from other schools, we could look at being a training provider,” she explained.
McKinlay said that the course had been supported by parents, and the team had considered the issues with the alcohol industry and working with students.
“Once they are over 18, which they will be in year 12 it won’t be bad, but they will taste wort as it’s not fermented and has no alcohol, [before that] and that’s it,” she said.
“We’re giving them skills to get them a job, it’s not about alcohol, it’s about providing them with that opportunity.
“They will do their Responsible Service of Alcohol and they see how you make it and the science of it, and realise it’s not about drinking, it’s about science and skills.”