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From chef to caseworker: Raka’s recipe for success

Training and skills case study

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Victoria, Raka Supriatna realised his career as a chef could be on the slow burner for a while.

As lockdowns interrupted the hospitality industry, he started looking into other opportunities and talking with friends who were working in community services. 

“I realised I wanted something that was a bit more stimulating, where I could grow,” he recalls.  

Raka Supriatna case study

Raka had cooked for not-for-profit kitchens before, so he knew he had a passion for helping others.  

“I got a lot of fulfillment from working around different people and improving their lives.”  

After hearing there was demand in the industry, Raka began studying a Diploma of Community Services and juggling his course load with full-time work.  

He moved to a later work shift and used the flexibility of online study to keep earning an income while finishing his qualification.

It wasn’t long before Raka landed a new position as a forensic case worker, kick starting his journey into community services.  

“In my current role I work with people who have been in contact with the justice system,” explains Raka. “We focus on reducing reoffending and improving outcomes for people who have spent time in prison.”  

Raka’s typical day now involves working with people living with disabilities who are subject to supervision orders (court orders for individuals who have served significant time in prison).  

His time is spent conducting risk assessments, identifying their needs in the community, and reporting on their progress.

It’s been a big shift from the busyness of the kitchen, but Raka is enjoying both the challenges and rewards of the role.  

Raka Supriatna case study

“I still love to cook for people and make them amazing food, but you don’t change someone’s whole life with one meal,” he says.

“There are days in this industry where the life path of someone can be altered significantly. You can be there to enable someone’s quality of life to change for the better.”

For those contemplating a career change, Raka points out that there are plenty of jobs in community services.  

His advice to anyone considering a similar path is simple: approach it with compassion and kindness, and above all, find a way to make it fun.