This apprentice interview is part of a series highlight apprentice success stories during National Apprenticeship Week 2020. To read more about how CCSNH & ApprenticeshipNH are celebrating the week, please click here.
Apprentice Name: Tessa Thibodeau
Town: Raymond, NH
Place of Employment: Tuckaway Tavern
Community college name: Nashua Community College
What were you doing before you became an apprentice? Did you have any ideas about career paths you would like to pursue?
Before becoming an apprentice, I was working at Tuckaway already. I had talked with some of the chefs about ways to advance in the industry and learned that hands-on experience was probably the most important thing. When I was a student at Pinkerton Academy I took culinary classes and I’ve worked in restaurants since I was 16. I probably would not have considered continuing my education if it had not been for the apprenticeship opportunity.
How did you hear about the apprenticeship opportunity and what made it seem like a good fit for you?
I think the fact that it was something new really appealed to me, knowing that I’d be one of the first hospitality apprentices in the state. Tuckaway is such a big restaurant so it felt good to be recognized and feel like I was being chosen for this opportunity.
How long is your apprenticeship, and how far along are you right now?
The program is 3 years long and I am about a third of the way through. I am learning a ton – both through the hands-on practice I get at the restaurant plus the classes that I’m taking at the college.
What has been the best part of your experience as an apprentice so far?
Going to school. I didn’t think I’d like it since I never really liked school when I was younger. I look forward to my culinary classes every week, and it really helps that the things I learn in class can be applied to my job.
What are some of the biggest ways you feel your apprenticeship has impacted you?
It’s made me take my career more seriously. I feel a lot more confident that I’m moving in the right direction and thinking about where I want to be five years from now. I never really thought about that or planned for my future, but now I am.
Who has helped and supported you during your training and education?
My mentor and supervisor Jen, who is the assistant executive chef at the Tuckaway. She’s been by my side since the start of the program and she always checks in with me to ask how things are going. She is eager for me to learn and is also teaching me a ton.