Some might call Adam as nutty as a fruitcake for getting up at 2am on a chilly Wednesday morning, but for him, his time at Spelt Bakery has been the best thing since sliced bread.
It’s black outside except for the soft glow of streetlamps and stars. Amongst the fairy lights are harsh fluorescents that seep out onto Highgate from the Spelt Bakery kitchen. Here you will find Adam and James hard at work making pastry, ready to encase their mouth watering beer-braised steak filling which will soon be your breakfast, or that tradie’s morning tea down the road.
It’s Term Two, and Gateway is well under way, helping our 26 students come to terms with the bread and butter of the working world. For Adam, this means early morning starts, being at work on time and showing up with a positive attitude and enthusiasm even though he could be in the land of nod like the rest of us. Let’s not sugar coat things - it is hard work. The hours often run longer than a typical school day and the work is physically taxing. There is also the paperwork that goes with the placement: Unit Standards based on the industry that the student is involved in.
The Gateway programme is a lot like those steak and cheese pies that Adam makes. The foundations (or pastry) are made up of many layers of people; businesses, teachers and parents, working together to create a support system for the heart of the programme: the steak and cheese, also known as the students who are also working hard on placement and in the classroom to ensure the success of the programme. Without the pastry there would be no pie, just like without the filling the pastry would only be pastry.
You learn on the job, you learn in the classroom, but the rewards? That’s the icing on the cake, or perhaps in this case the lid on the pie. A number of businesses offer apprenticeships to Gateway students. Two situations that take the cake, err rather, pie, from 2015 are Hamish Burrow and Matt Gillespie. Hamish gained a plumbing apprenticeship through Foleys, and Matt Gillespie went on to do his pre trade course through Otago Polytechnic, and has since been offered an apprenticeship through his Gateway employer Naylor Love.
Apart from the potential apprenticeships, the real rewards are the connections in the industry that you make. The old saying “it’s who you know not what you know” rings true when trying to gain employment, and nothing beats hands on experience. Adam is well on his way to making strong connections within the bakery profession, and with the dedication that he shows by turning up to work in the wee hours of the morning combined with the hard work he puts into those pies he is gaining something that no school can possibly provide: industry connections and knowledge. That right there is why we wholeheartedly support the Gateway programme at John McGlashan, it gives our students the opportunity to experience life in a way we cannot simply tell them about, but instead they must experience first hand for themselves.
So on your way to school next Wednesday morning when the darkness is just disappearing, think about Adam, who has already been at Spelt for hours to make you the masterpiece that is the humble steak and cheese pie that you’ll eat on your way to form time. As you take your first bite, think about how worthwhile the Gateway experience is for Adam and everyone involved. And don’t forget: always blow on the pie. Safer communities together.
If you would like to be part of our steak and cheese pie by becoming a Gateway Employer we would love to hear from you. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.