At the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence, we are proud to create life-changing opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Our Job Ready program creates employment opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander job seekers across Redfern and the wider Sydney area.

Rob Bridges understands just how much NCIE can support career pathways, having graduated from the program.

He is now on his way to becoming a qualified chef through a three-year apprenticeship with NCIE Hospitality.

“Deciding to become a chef was the best decision I’ve ever made, it was a turning point in my life,” Rob explained. 

“It’s been a great experience learning how to use Indigenous ingredients, I feel like I wouldn’t be able to do this anywhere else.”

He was actively looking for work through other employment agencies, but it was a meeting with Job Ready founder Aunty Beryl Van Oploo, that lead to a career in the NCIE kitchen.

“I had a feeling it was going to get somewhere,” Rob said about his meeting with Aunty Beryl.

Aunty Beryl says Rob is so passionate about cooking and is proud of his work ethic.

“It’s been a big change in his life, but it’s great for us at NCIE to nurture these kids and give them these opportunities,” Aunty Beryl said.

“Rob has put in the hard yards and is so dedicated. NCIE have been there to guide him along and support him.

“I’ve seen him grow into an excellent young man.”

Rob has now been working with NCIE for two years. 

In his first year, Rob he worked as a kitchen hand and just recently, completed the first year of his apprenticeship.

His advice to others looking for work or to become a chef, was that persistence pays off.

“Just stick to it, it does get easier,” Rob said. 

What Rob loves most about working in the NCIE kitchen was tasting and creating amazing food and seeing other people enjoy it.  

Rob also enjoys working with the kitchen team and the sense of community that NCIE offers. 

“That’s a pretty good feeling,” he added. 

NCIE chef Mick Greene agrees, saying Rob is a great asset to the kitchen team.

“He’s really clicked into place here and produces great food,” Mick said.

Our deadly NCIE chefs: Jaye Tyrrell, Mick Greene and Rob Bridges

You can taste some of the delicious food prepared by Rob and the team by ordering NCIE Catering.

To find out more about NCIE’s Job Ready program, email