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Sonya Bartolic

Cookery Graduate

New Zealand Certificate in Cookery Graduate in UCOL's on-site commercial kitchen

With an interest in food but struggling to find a job, Sonya Bartolic of Tainui Waikato descent, wanted to gain higher qualifications to turn her passion into a career.

The Wairarapa local was drawn to UCOL’s New Zealand Certificate in Cookery and New Zealand Certificate in Baking programmes.

“Enrolling at UCOL Wairarapa gave me the opportunity to study in my hometown and further my career choices.”

Sonya says she gained a great deal support from UCOL staff, and credits them for helping her get back into full time study.

“I received so much support from the Student Success staff – everything down to supporting me through the process of getting a student loan and providing learning support in class.”

During her time at UCOL Sonya says she grew in confidence and learnt a lot of valuable industry and life skills. “My tutors helped me believe in myself and achieve my goals of working in hospitality.”

The industry connections Sonya made while studying at UCOL were instrumental in helping her get a foot in the door as a kitchen hand at Wairarapa’s local Gladstone Inn pub, where she works now.

“My lecturer told me there was a job going at the Gladstone Inn and suggested I give them a call. I’m so glad I did!”

Since gaining her UCOL qualifications Sonya feels ready to tackle her goals of working her way up the kitchen ranks, and she is grateful for all of her tutors’ hard work in getting her where she is today. “I see a change in myself and I am making better life choices.” 

“I am far more confident and truly believe my time at UCOL has set myself up for a better future.”



The Gladstone Inn Wairarapa is a historic pub offering country style cuisine and woodfired pizzas using fresh ingredients from local suppliers and its own garden. It prides itself on fine food and friendly service. 

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