Stephen discovers his creative side with gourmet sausages
When we caught up with 38-year-old single father of two, Stephen Prato he'd just finished creating the day's supply of lamb, spinach and feta sausages and was about to start preparing the chicken Kiev's and beef kebabs.
Stephen's new found career as an apprentice butcher is a far cry from the sub-contracting work and the 14-16 hour days he was putting in at the feedlots.
Soon to complete his first year as an apprentice butcher at Miles Wholesale Meats and Small Goods owned by Lyn and Daryl Bein, Stephen was also recognised by the Australian Meat Industry Council (AMIC) Queensland receiving the Outstanding Achiever of the Year Retail Award.
Daryl and Lyn Bein nominated Stephen for the award and said he was the fourth apprentice since 2005 from their business to win the award.
"We are really thrilled Stephen took out this award and on top of this he also received an Origin Community Skills Scholarship which is a four year program.
"Stephen really fits in with the rest of the team and has a great approach with the customers.
"It's not easy to get skilled workers at Miles, so having the opportunity to take on an apprentice is a real advantage."
"He's a bit of a natural with making our gourmet snags, plus he's now trained to make steakettes and chicken Kiev's, breaking down a whole lamb, assemble the fancy pies and he washes up when he's done," said Lyn Bein.
After living in Miles for about 15 years and working in various industries Stephen decided he wanted something that was less demanding on his family time.
"I really wanted to get a qualification and when Daryl and Lyn approached me about working at their butchers, I jumped at the chance," he said.
"They put me on with a three month trial and on completion offered me an apprenticeship through the QGC Strengthening Local Workforces Program."
Launched in February 2012, QGC partnered with BUSY At Work to match apprentices and trainees with businesses outside the coal seam gas industry in regional Queensland and provide support, mentoring and coaching to help boost retention and completion rates.
"Changing careers and getting a trade is one of the best things I've done and I'm really proud to be able to set an example for my boys, as I'm encouraging them to stay at school and complete Year 12 with the aim to get a trade," said Stephen.
Through the support of the QGC Strengthening Local Workforces Program and employers like Lyn and Daryl Bein we have witnessed a positive outcome in Miles. Not only does it support Stephen Prato and his boys along with Miles Wholesale Meats and Small Goods, it also provides career pathways to other locals and opportunities for other businesses.
Phone 13 BUSY (13 28 79) or visit www.busyatwork.com.au/qgc