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Brewing course sees graduates crafting a brew-tiful career

With the craft beer industry in Australia estimated to be increasing by five to ten percent each year according to a 2023 report by Statista, more and more people are finding themselves drawn to the craft.

This includes graduates Sean Kanhai and Madeleine Bruce who turned to Bendigo TAFE to master the skills to work as a brewer and are now making waves in the craft beer industry.

Brewing graduate Sean Kanhai moved into a brewer’s role at True Brew in Bendigo after completing the Certificate III in Food Processing (Brewing) (FBP30121) at Bendigo TAFE.

“I started work there as a brew hand, helping the brewer, doing bottling and kegging. I even worked behind the bar. I wanted to learn more though, and then I found out about the brewing course that was available at TAFE,” Sean said.

(Brewing graduate Sean Kanhai)

Originally from Canada with a background in chemistry and food science, Sean thoroughly enjoyed the process of learning about brewing, which has in turn enabled him to transform his workplace.

“My teachers went beyond my expectations. You could ask them anything and they’d give you an in-depth answer. Brewing is both an art and a science and I loved being able to talk with such experienced brewers. Their expertise meant I got to learn the techniques and the underpinnings of the whole process,” he said.

“My studying brewing at TAFE helped True Brew’s owners make the decision to upgrade our equipment. Bringing new skills into the workplace was a key factor in that.”

Since becoming a brewer in 2022, Madeleine is both building her career and inspiring other women to join the craft, after developing her skills at Bendigo TAFE.

“Before I enrolled with the Certificate III in Food Processing (Brewing), I was working as a supervisor behind the bar at the Bright Brewery,” Madeleine shared.

“I chose the course because I have a passion for brewing and wanted to pursue a career as a brewer. The course seemed like the perfect intro to the industry.”

The first-ever Victorian TAFE to offer the Certificate III in Food Processing (Brewing) course for entry-level beer brewing, Bendigo TAFE delivers the program through a combination of online, on-campus and work placement – perfect for people who may be currently working and wanting to move into beer making.

Completing the course led Madeleine straight into a new role as a brewer in Bright Brewery’s production unit.

“I love the science and creativity part of being a brewer, as well as consistent learning,” Madeleine said.

(Brewing graduate Madeleine Bruce)

Besides working on her daily brews, Madeleine wants to inspire more women to be part of the sector.

“I think it’s important to inspire female and other minority up-and-coming brewers to create diversity in the industry and community,” she said.

“There is definitely potential for women to be successful in this industry. We are super lucky to have a women’s only brewing society as a resource – Pink Boots Society – that helps create a really powerful network of women.”

Tapping into her newfound skills in brewing and strong support from her colleagues, Madeleine has brewed up a new tradition at her workplace.  

“I am so grateful that I work with the most supportive team. I am lucky enough to make a brew every year with the other female staff of Bright Brewery that we release on International Women's Day,” she said.

“I created the idea after attending a Pink Boots member brew day. I loved it so much that I brought back the concept and we implemented it at the brewery. It's great to see all the women from around the brewery be inspired.”   

Bendigo TAFE Chief Executive Officer Sally Curtain said vocational education and training is a great way for individuals to get started on their desired career.

“It’s fantastic to see that our brewing graduates Sean and Madeleine not only thriving in their role, but also making a positive impact where they work,” Sally said.

“The theme of this year’s National Skills Week is ‘What are you looking for?’, and we hope to inspire Australians to think about the career they truly want and how vocational education and training can help them get there,” Sally said.

“With 85 per cent of all beer sold in Australia made locally, brewing is an incredibly vibrant sector and Bendigo TAFE is thrilled to support more people to enter this dynamic field through skills and training.”

Along with the rest of the nation, Bendigo TAFE is celebrating the specialist skills of its students during National Skills Week from 21 August – 27 August 2023. Now in its thirteenth year, the week celebrates the talents, the skills, the career pathways and the value of apprentices and trainees across Australia.

Bendigo TAFE’s Certificate III in Food Processing (Brewing) provides specific brewing skills such as wort production, fermentation, beer maturation, packaging and product testing.

A limited-time fee reduction is available for eligible regional Victorian students. For more information click here.

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