The National Indigenous Culinary Institute (NICI) celebrated their first graduating class on Monday 19th January, 2015, with several high profile figures in attendance including the Hon Tony Abbott, Prime Minister of Australia.
Macleay advertising students had the exciting gig of designing the branding for the event including the banners that the PM spoke in front of! Cain Slater, coordinator for NICI, approached Macleay College’s Advertising Faculty to develop a visual brand for the program. The brief required a design solution that best represents the initiative and the ethos behind it. At Macleay Advertising we love a good branding project, and this was an ideal opportunity for students to work on a real-world project. Over the timeframe of 3 trimesters (1 year), three successive groups of advertising students have developed the brand, created a television commercial and produced publicity photographs for NICI.
“It was terrific to see the professional level of work, and also to be presented with different options to choose from. It was a difficult choice, but we decided on a concept that matched the design brief quite closely” commented Slater.
The winning concept, designed by art directing student Helen Metlenko, supported by the copywriter Bridget Epitropakis and the account manager Michael Chynoweth was chosen in consultation with the NICI board, which includes Mark Arbib, David Baffsky, Ross Grant, Barry McDonald, Bill Sweeney and Bill Wavish.
NICI was established in 2012 to provide employment opportunities for Indigenous Australians. The program offers training and experience to aspiring indigenous chefs in top Sydney restaurants, including Aria, Catalina, Icebergs Dining Room, Rockpool Bar & Grill, Cafe Sopra, Café Nice. Malarie Webster, a 2013 graduate of the Dhungutti and Barkindji people of Kempsey in NSW, joined the program for a career change after six years in community services.“I saw the program as a great opportunity to explore my love of food and turn it into a career. I also feel the program is important in creating good role models in the indigenous community: I’m keen to use this experience to become a positive representative for indigenous people striving to reach their goals.”
With the assistance of NICI’s sponsors, two of the graduating students were also selected to visit the UK to gain first-hand experience in leading London restaurants with the assistance of Heston Blumenthal, who is also a supporter of the program. These winning students were announced at the graduating ceremony.