However culinary art and hospitality students at Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology pressed home that advantage as they gained hands-on experience while designing, cooking, and serving a free 'thank you' lunch to a capacity crowd from the city's various voluntary firefighting brigades today.
"I think that it is important with the recent merger of Waiariki Institute of Technology and Bay of Plenty Polytechnic that we go back to the values that made us a community college in the first instance," said Toi Ohomai's Tourism and Hospitality head of department Bart Vosse.
"We are community at heart. Although we have got bigger and got a new name with Toi Ohomai, we are still here for the right values and the right people."
Local firefighters were fed by Toi Ohomai's culinary art and hospitality students as thank you today. Photo/Supplied
Previous recipients of the designer lunches have included the Rotorua SPCA, Big Brother Big Sister, and a stand at the recent Taupo markets where proceeds went back to the local hospice.
"It's about acknowledging and reengaging with all the people who are doing good things in our community, saying 'come in, let us feed you'," said Mr Vosse. "Not many not-for profits can get people together or afford to celebrate, so the fact we can make both happen is really special."
For Certificate in Food and Beverage student Sinead Olsen the ability to give something back to her local community is already a highlight of tertiary life. "It is really brilliant. These firefighters do so much for our community, it is good to be able to acknowledge their efforts. "Plus, this will help me in future as well. I mean, you are not going to get shell-shocked when you are chucked out into the industry if you've already had plenty of practical experience like this."