After catering for large groups at the marae with her family, Bridgit-Lee Morgan found her hospitality skills were already well honed. By getting qualified, the 23-year-old is turning her natural talent into an exciting career.
Growing up in a big Māori family meant Bridgit-Lee Morgan developed her hospitality skills well before she even set foot on a tertiary campus.
Catering for large groups at the marae was just part of everyday life, so it came as a surprise to learn she could make a career from it.
“When I first started studying hospitality, the tutors were telling us stuff like how to set up a restaurant in 30 minutes, and I realised I already knew it,” she says.
“Because of my experience on the marae, that sort of thing was common sense to me. I didn’t realise how much I already knew. It was cool to realise I could make good money out of it, rather than just being told what to do by my family!”
Finding her path
Bridgit, aged 23, is doing a L4 Certificate in Food and Beverage at Manukau Institute of Technology and will qualify early next year.
Despite her natural talent in hospitality, Bridgit didn’t see it as a viable career path when she was leaving school.
Instead, she went straight into a warehouse job, then studied tourism and travel, before becoming a deckhand on Te Aurere Waka, a traditional voyaging ship based out of Auckland.
“We did tours out of Auckland and I really enjoyed it. That was one of the main things I wanted to do in tourism – work outdoors.”
Bridgit’s move into formal hospitality training came by chance.
“I was supposed to go into a Diploma in Pacific Rim Tourism but they got my details mixed up and I ended up doing hospo. I was planning to do that later anyway, so I just went with it and I’ve really enjoyed it.”
She says the most attractive things about working in hospitality are the opportunities to travel and earn a decent wage.
“I’m thinking about training as a chef too because that’s related to hospitality.”
Bridgit says it was a big help having her course fees covered by a scholarship from MPTT Auckland.
“It made it much easier financially. There’s been no pressure, no worries about the money.”
As an MPTT Auckland scholar, Bridgit was invited to join a team of trades trainees who travelled to Fiji in September to build cyclone-resistant homes for low-income families.
Helping build the two homes from scratch, in a small settlement near Nadi, gave Bridgit a massive confidence boost in terms of her DIY skills.
“That trip really opened my mind up about different options. The way you can build a house, door handles and windows, is just amazing.
“I usually just ask dad to do that kind of thing for me at home but I feel way more confident now about doing it myself.”
“Thank you for the opportunity to go to Fiji and do some good work. It’s been a really good experience,” Bridgit says.
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