Simon Wilke, Hospitality Management graduate

Simon Wilke always knew he wanted to work in hospitality and customer service.

When he finished high school, he took the opportunity to enrol in a free Youth Guarantee programme at CPIT (now Ara Institute of Canterbury), resulting in a Certificate in Hospitality. Confident that he'd chosen the right career path, he then studied the National Diploma in Hospitality Management, also at CPIT.

Taking the Youth Guarantee course was an obvious choice for Simon. "I saw it as a way of starting a great career; getting the experience I needed along with a qualification."

Since graduating Simon has worked as a senior waiter and maitre'd for the likes of Tiffany's, Ma Maison and Protocol restaurants.

He's now about to take another exciting step in his career - studying at the internationally renowned British Butler Institute. Once he completes this training he'll undertake a work placement at London's famous Ritz Hotel.

If that wasn't enough in the pipeline, Simon even knows what he wants to do beyond his butler training. "After that I want to become a restaurateur, create an event business and become a marriage celebrant." To enable these plans to come to fruition, Simon intends to study the Bachelor of Applied Management, specialising in hospitality management and event management.

Simon says he's grateful for the kick start CPIT gave him. "I owe so much to CPIT. I walked through the door not a very confident person and walked out confident and with a whole set of skills."

He believes his training has set him up well for the world of hospitality. "And the great thing about this career is I will never stop learning."