61 year old Julie Harris, had worked in the gas industry for over 25 years before making the bold decision to reinvent herself and follow her true passion of baking and patisserie. Today she has three certificates and several baking awards under her belt and is currently studying for her fourth and fifth courses at Melbourne Polytechnic. She truly is a great example to prove that no one is ever too old to make a change and go back to school!
Question: What inspired you to attend Melbourne Polytechnic?
Julie Harris: I've always had a strong passion for cooking and cake decorating and after I left my job in the gas industry to look after my mother who was ill back in 2016, I really wanted to do something different with my life and really reinvent myself.
Question: How did you overcome the difficulties associated in returning to study?
Julie Harris: Initially I was nervous about returning to study at my age, however I found that the teachers and students at Melbourne Polytechnic were extremely welcoming and helpful which made the transition into study easy.
Question: Can you tell us about your time at Melbourne Polytechnic?
Julie Harris: I've had such a positive and purposeful experience at Melbourne Polytechnic. I found that everyone was very understanding of my situation with my mother which was comforting. Over the years I've developed such great friendships with the staff and students here and consider them family.
Question: What courses have you studied at Melbourne Polytechnic?
Julie Harris: I've completed a Certificate III in Patisserie, Certificate III in Retail Baking and Certificate IV in Patisserie. I'm also currently undertaking 2 other courses; Certificate IV in Commercial Cookery and a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment.
Question: What's a typical day like for you, now?
Julie Harris: If I'm not spending time with my family or cooking for my grandkids, it's likely you'll find me in class! I love coming into school, it's something that I look forward to each day!
Question: Where do you find inspiration when creating cakes?
Julie Harris: My inspiration comes from many places. I love to decorate and make sugar flowers so anything real that I can recreated on a cake is always an inspiration.
Question: What advice do you have for other women hoping to attend Melbourne Polytechnic?
Julie Harris: I would highly recommend Melbourne Polytechnic and already have to many of my friends. I'd say just go for it! There're absolutely no boundaries when it comes to age. I just wish I did it sooner!
Interview by Brooke Hunter