One of the biggest employment opportunities in Haliburton County is in food services. However, the number of individuals who are employment-ready are dwindling (according to employers in the County, and Fleming Crew).
Employers are left with the options of hiring employees from outside the county or hiring and firing a series of unready workers. One solution to this dilemma is to bring the skill and confidence levels of local “unready” potential employees to a point where they are ready and able to work.
SIRCH is passionate about reducing poverty and increasing community capacity. One of the ways we do this is to increase the skills, abilities and confidence of individuals who are struggling through hands-on training programs. One of them is “Cook It Up.”
Cook It Up is coming up to its 5th season and has experienced phenomenal success! Since we started the program, we have had interest not only locally, but in other parts of Ontario and more recently from the UK.
Cook It Up provides on-the-job training and employment opportunities for 8-12 unemployed or underemployed adults annually, but it is done with some unique key elements that ensure its success:
- A gratitude platform/philosophy that underpins the training
- Partnering with restaurant owners to take over their restaurant on a day it is typically closed, and preparing, cooking and serving an upscale 3-course lunch (free to the public)
- Promoting meaningful ongoing interaction between the trainees and the public.
8 – 10 individuals are chosen who are interested in learning about food service. SIRCH’s Food Services Coordinator, who is a chef, oversees the 16 week program, ensuring that all health and safety requirements are met. Guest chefs may be invited to participate.