Juggling college classes and a full-time job has its challenges, but Chantal Daigle makes it work.
Daigle is the Service Supervisor at Old Vines Restaurant – a renowned farm-to-fork upscale dining room at West Kelowna’s Quails’ Gate Winery.
“I work with the Assistant Manager and the Restaurant Manager in the front of house; I help run the shift, deal with customer or staff issues that arise, and also do some of the training and administration,” explains Daigle.
The 23-year-old started as a full time supervisor in May 2017, but she’s been with the winery on and off since 2008. Working seasonally throughout high school, she moved from bussing tables and serving customers to becoming the lead server and supervisor in the winery’s special events department last year.
Meanwhile, she has also started her third year studies in Business Administration, with a specialty in hospitality and tourism, at Okanagan College in Kelowna.
It can be a balancing act, she admits: “I put in about 15 hours a week on school, while working on top of that more than 40 hours. I try to take as many courses as I can online to save time. I’m also lucky that I work with wonderful people who are flexible and let me work around school.”
However, Daigle also finds that her job and studies play well together. “Now that I have a role with more responsibilities, including scheduling, training, and administration, it lines up well with what I’m studying. What I’m learning at school helps with what I do at work, and my job helps put my education into perspective,” she observes.
There’s also plenty of opportunity for education at work, adds Daigle. “Our senior managers do a good job of providing training resources. For example, the company put me through the WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust) sommelier course. I’ve done level two; I’d love to do level three but I don’t have time right now with school work.”
In the long term? “I would like to move beyond the restaurant and get more involved in the wine side. It’s a fascinating industry and there’s so much to learn. I have a good relationship with the owners and senior managers, and I think they’re open to helping me progress in my career.”
For the moment though, Daigle likes where she’s at: “I love my current job. We make wonderful wine on site, the chefs are amazing, and it’s fun to share that with guests. Plus we have a really good team and I enjoy that I’m constantly learning — at school and at work.”
Would she recommend tourism to others as a career? “Absolutely. It’s fun and dynamic and it’s one of the biggest industries in Kelowna,” she says.