Since 1985 the Grisold family have been taking on the Swiss and the Belgians at their own game by creating the finest truffles, pralines and chocolate novelties here in Melbourne, Australia with their award winning Chocolatier brand. A group of 8 students from MCIE’s Certificate I in Work Education class were given the opportunity to find out a little bit more about Chocolatier with a career day visit to the factory which is located in Heidelberg West. Arriving at 10.30, we were ushered into the board room and welcomed by General Manager Daryl Bussell and Production Supervisor Matt.
Before we were allowed into the factory, we were given lab coats and hair nets to wear to comply with the strict Work Health and Safety regulations. It was a good introduction to what happens on production lines as we walked past state of the art machinery that made chocolate shells and filled them with all manner of sweet treats. While there is a heavy reliance on machinery, the human touch is also just as important with workers bustling around hand decorating, mixing batches of chocolate, packing and supervising the quality and consistency of the chocolates.
After our tour, we headed back to the board room (without the hair net and lab coats, luckily!) and the next hour was filled with stories and information as representative after representative of the Chocolatier family spoke about what their job entailed. John Grisold shared the history of the brand and we heard first-hand how he and his brother, without much knowledge of chocolate making, started their business from a small shop. Richard, the Sales and Marketing Manager explained how products were distributed and marketed. This was followed by Brett the Warehouse Manager who spoke about logistics and incoming/ outgoing stock control and a representative from the Research and Development team who brought along samples of Chocolatiers newest products for the group to taste, compare and discuss. Each staff member took the time and care to explain their job role as well as their career history. There was also honest and open dialogue as students were encouraged to ask questions; with answers that were encouraging and showed the inclusive culture of Chocolatier.
The students were then given a special task of assembling a display case as a group. It was a task that required teamwork, leadership skills and the ability to follow IKEA style instructions. ‘Challenge accepted!’ the students said. And they rose to the challenge with gusto; with the display unit up and ready for inspection within 20 minutes.
Two weeks after our career day, the class is still talking about their experiences at Chocolatier and it isn’t because of the amount of delicious chocolates we ate! Career Days like these shed a light on the different industries and employment opportunities available in Australia. With the Certificate I in Work Education being an employment focused training program, this part of the curriculum allows students to have a glimpse of different cultures in the workplace. It makes a big difference as learnings from the career day are pulled apart and open for debate in class. Can a few hours on a career day change a view point? But of course – with insightful discussions about the importance of culture sparking from our host Daryl’s phrase that is now oft repeated in class, ‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast’!