At high school in Wellington, Jes Howes was struggling to flourish and fast losing self-esteem. By Year 13, Howes decided it was time to move on and find a different pathway. With encouragement from her parents, who knew she had a passion for cooking, she researched options at Whitireia and WelTec | Te Pūkenga and started on her journey to her dream.
Howes quickly immersed herself in her new, hands-on, practical study in the commercial kitchens of the hospitality campus of Whitireia and WelTec | Te Pūkenga and qualified in bakery, cookery and hospitality management. This experience cemented her ideas about pursuing a career doing what she loved, cooking, and Howes wanted to start her own food truck business.
“I love cooking and baking and it was while I was doing the courses that I came up with my food truck idea,” said Howes.
I have this vision of a cool truck serving burgers and chips to people out on a Saturday night on Courtney Place. It will be fun and I know everyone loves hot, fresh food when they have had a big night out.”
To complement her hospitality qualifications and to help her set up the new business, Howes has returned to learning at Whitireia and WelTec | Te Pūkenga to gain the accounting and management knowledge she needs to get going with her plans.
Howes is now in the process of completing this qualification and recently spoke about her experiences to almost 700 students at the recent graduation ceremony held by Whitireia and WelTec | Te Pūkenga.
“When I was at school I was low in confidence and really did not know what I wanted to do,” said Howes.
“When I started at Whitireia and WelTec | Te Pūkenga I met such lovely people in my class and I realised there was a student support team, who helped me with my learning difficulties.”
Howes described the student support team as being a big encouragement to her, having helped her navigate through her studies and explain her situation to her tutors.
Disability advisor at Whitireia and WelTec | Te Pūkenga, Rebecca Burns said that Howes is an inspiration and despite potential learning barriers, she has achieved both personal and academic success.
“The importance of seeking and receiving support is strongly evident and I know that Howes is a strong advocate for our support services which extends to both students and staff. We have been privileged to walk this journey alongside Howes,” said Burns.