Humans of St John’s
Welcome to the next edition of Humans of St John’s featuring Hospitality Coordinator,
Nicholas Robertson who brings with him a wealth of experiences from working at Cirque du Soleil to creating his own App.
I grew up in Brisbane, living in and around Daisy Hill. After completing high school, I began working as an apprentice chef at the Holland Park Hotel before advancing to Giardinetto, an Italian restaurant that’s still going strong in Fortitude Valley. From there I moved to the beautiful Sunshine Coast, working in several small boutique restaurants in Noosa. During this time I developed a love of all things relating to food which inspired me to complete a Diploma in Nutrition.
With my cooking experience and knowledge of nutrition, I became the Chef and Sports Nutritionist for Cirque du Soleil travelling the world with their touring shows. For three years I travelled throughout America, Singapore, Hong Kong and Europe with the circus. It was an incredible experience and one that really changed me as a person. It was here that I developed my love for teaching, having the opportunity to teach the children performers how to cook. I realised how good it felt to pass on my knowledge and experience of something that I loved. I seemed to have a knack for it and through the experience also developed a love of teaching.
I left Cirque du Soleil to pursue a career in teaching with the hopes of combining my love of food with my new love of teaching. I began studying a Bachelor of Education at Griffith University whilst working part-time as a chef and as a labourer helping my brother who is a carpenter. After graduating, I worked at Ormeau Woods State High School for a short contract and for Groves Christian College for twelve years where I set up a trade training centre for Hospitality.
I’ve been at St John’s one year now, having worked as a teacher for fourteen years. St John’s has a great reputation. From day one, I knew this would be a great place to work. The students are well behaved and so invested in improving themselves, a real credit to the College and I find it a very inspiring and positive place to work. The kids and the staff are all on the same page and are moving in the same direction which helps build a sense of community and belonging which I believe is important in the formative years.
At St John’s my role is to teach basic cooking skills to students in Years 7 to 9, expanding into discovery and enquiry lessons for students in Year 10 Hospitality, and in Year 11 and 12 we look at the hospitality industry and run events. Hospitality teaches students soft skills such as communication and problem-solving and these skills are in demand in every industry. I would love to introduce a coffee cart at the College to enable students to also learn and develop small business skills.
Outside of St John’s, I love to spend time with my two children, Hannah and Zoe, who are the lights of my life, as well as go mountain biking on the weekend. I like to travel anywhere and everywhere to find new tracks. About a year ago I had an accident while mountain biking, I hit a tree and broke my collarbone. During this downtime, I developed an App called SwapU with my cofounder; we are the swappers marketplace. Essentially the App promotes bartering and swapping as a way of saving money and decreasing waste. We connect swappers with each other and then connect swappers to the services they need. So far we have 3500 downloads and over $300,000 of items listed to swap. It’s a fun side hustle that keeps me busy on the weekends when I am not out riding or hanging out with my kids.