Dale's landed the dream job!
Dale Schwinkowski has an eagle-eyed teacher, EDGE and his own strong work ethic to thank for landing his dream job.
The seventeen year old is an Apprentice Chef at Crown, Perth. He earned the position after successfully completing months of both paid work and work experience.
"This is it," says Dale. "This is what I'm going to be doing for the rest of my life!"
Dale's first job at Crown was working as a Kitchen Hand, but an Apprenticeship was always his goal.
Tracey Ashman, Apprentice Chef Coordinator at Crown said that Dale was determined to undertake an apprenticeship from the very beginning of his career journey.
"Every single day he came to work, every time he saw me in the corridor, he came up to me and asked me if he could have that opportunity," says Tracey Ashman. "That's what he really wanted to do, he wanted an apprenticeship."
"He wore me down completely!" she laughs. Ms Ashman struck a deal with Dale.
"I said to him, let's have a look at your skills and what you're actually made of. I asked him if he was prepared to come in one day a week for twelve weeks of work experience in a kitchen and be assessed each day, which he did."
"He basically proved to me that he was willing to do the job and capable of doing the job."
Indeed, neither a learning disability, dyslexia nor ADHD have prevented Dale from pursuing the position he's coveted since he first started cooking classes at school.
"About four weeks into Home Economics I fell in love," Dale tells INSIDE EDGE," and that was it, I decided I wanted to be a Chef."
It was an ambition first nurtured by teacher Ying Jie Choo, Education Support Coordinator at Ellenbrook Secondary College. She arranged work experience for Dale at a local café, one day a week.
"Then I got him in with EDGE," says Miss Choo.
"EDGE and his work placement was probably the best thing, it started him off, driving that passion."
Supported by EDGE, Dale completed a fifteen week SWOT (School to Work Transition) placement, then a Certificate 3 in Hospitality, followed by another six months in the Kitchen Hand job at Crown Perth.
"I proved myself by doing that," says Dale. Crown Perth's Tracey Ashman agrees.
"Everything I've asked him to do, he's taken on board. He's "teachable," she says. "Like a football coach saying to a football player, you're coachable."
"Can I coach that kid? Can I help him? Can I teach him to get the best out of him? Yeah I think we can.
"His attitude far outweighs any disability he might have. He comes in each day, he's on top of the world, he loves his job. He thinks it's absolutely fantastic he's got this opportunity. He loves going to TAFE, he's fantastic with the other staff, he's helpful with the work experience students - he's actually quite a good mentor."
Dale's grandmother Keeva Triscari says the focused and determined seventeen year old is very different to the "sometimes really naughty" child who'd regularly disrupt lessons at school.
"He always wanted to be a chef, he wanted to be a cook. He just got all this help," she tells INSIDE EDGE.
"We always say to him, gee Dale, I'm so proud of you!"