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Summary of occupation

Kitchenhands assists cooks or chefs within a working kitchen. They wash, peel and prepare foodstuffs and help to prepare simple dishes. They wash and clean utensils, dishes and benches that are used in the kitchen. They may also sort and store food stuffs, dispose of rubbish, organise the laundering of linen and clean various food preparation equipment and floors.

ANZSCO description: Assists kitchen and service staff in preparing and serving food, and cleans food preparation and service areas.
Alternative names: Cook's Assistant, Kitchen Attendant, Kitchen Steward
Specialisations: Dishwasher, Pantry Attendant, Sandwich Hand
Job prospects: Good
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A kitchenhand needs:

  • to be flexible to work shifts and in stressful situations
  • a high level of personal cleanliness
  • good communication skills and be able to work in a team
  • to be able to work quickly and safely
  • good hand-eye coordination
  • to ideally be free from skin allergies to foods and detergents.
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Working conditions

A kitchenhand's job can be very stressful, especially during peak periods. Kitchenhands are generally required to work shifts, and may be required to work shiftwork, and weekends and public holidays. Normal hours are 38 hours per week. Kitchenhands usually need to stand for most of the working day and kitchens can be hot and humid. Turnover in this occupation is high.

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Salary details

On average, kitchenhands can expect to earn between $679.90 and $799 per week ($35 354.80 and $41 599 per year), depending on the organisation they work for and their level of experience. As a kitchenhand develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.​

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Tools and technologies

Kitchenhands need to be proficient with knives and other kitchen equipment. They may also need to use large commercial dishwashing machines.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

You can work as a kitchen hand without any formal qualifications and get training on the job. However, entry into this occupation may be improved by obtaining a qualification in hospitality.

The Certificate II in Hospitality (Kitchen Operations) and Certificate II in Kitchen Operations are offered at TAFE Colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.

You can also complete a traineeship in hospitality (catering operations). The traineeship takes nine months to complete and is available as a school-based traineeship.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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