Andre’s story is a sequel to the one featured in our last impact report.
He took our Housekeeping course in 2015 and was hired as a houseman at Toronto Don Valley Hotel & Suites (TDV). As a refugee in Canada, he was settling down well in his new job. But one thing he had never expressed to anyone, during his training or after, was his profound love for cooking.
In Andre’s home country, where his sexual orientation could not be openly disclosed, cooking as a skill was considered effeminate. Pursuing it as a career would have meant fueling those stereotypes and attracting unwanted attention. He bottled up his interest and moved on. In Canada, he still did not speak about his passion due to doubts from his past. When his partner eventually joined him, Andre started cooking for him and rediscovered his enthusiasm for culinary arts.
With some encouragement from his partner, Andre cooked a delectable meal for one of his favourite HWTC instructors to express his interest and seek guidance. It was his amazing coming out moment – about his love for food.
Andre was enrolled in the Culinary Fundamentals course at George Brown College through our UpSkill program for existing hospitality workers. He continues to work at TDV while investing his personal time to hone the skills necessary to transition into a new career. One day Andre hopes to launch his own food truck featuring Canadian and Caribbean fusion food.
For all the people who love cooking but are unsure about it as a career, I say to them: risk it for the brisket!
With Andre’s infectious spirit and strong will power, we think his story will have many more exciting sequels and hope that HWTC continues to be an important part of them.
143 New Entrants Trained
Ontario Works (OW) Recipients
Ontario Disability Support (ODSP) Recipients
Youth of which:
48% OW Recipients
13% ODSP Recipients
8% No source of income
115 workers from more than 16 properties trained
HWTC was conceived as a partnership between Toronto’s hospitality industry and UNITE HERE Local 75 to re-train the hospitality workers facing layoffs as a result of SARS epidemic's effect on the industry.2003
HWTC was incorporated as an independent non-profit organization in 2004 and continued to train existing hospitality workers for advancement and mobility, while developing knowledge and experience in the field. In 2012, our social enterprise training restaurant, Hawthorne Food & Drink, was launched.
In 2012, our social enterprise training restaurant, Hawthorne Food & Drink, was launched.2004 – 2012
In 2013, our program expanded to provide hospitality training and employment services to new entrants in need of skills and good jobs. We progressively trained 190 new entrants and 450 existing workers during this phase, with a success rate as high as 80%. * New entrant trainees employed after training.2013 – 2015
2016 has been about strengthening our model to scale for impact – focusing on serving a greater number of job seekers, building industry and community partnerships, and increasing the depth of services we offer to our participants.
2016 - Accomplishments:
We want to continue what we are doing because our sector-focused workforce development approach has led to tangible successes. Our focus in the new year will be to further strengthen and expand our partnerships with the hospitality and food service industries and other community-based organizations while delivering high-quality training programs leading to successful employment outcomes.2017
We are also grateful to Toronto's hospitality industry for their support and contribution
Special thanks to Toronto Don Valley Hotel & Suites [TDV] for providing training space for our Housekeeping, Guest Services, and Banquet Server courses.
Enjoy a delectable meal with colleagues, friends and family, or use our catering services for business or private occasions.
60 Richmond St. East, Toronto, ON
647.930.9517 • hawthorneto.ca