The New South Wales (NSW) government has announced it will offer free training opportunities to help fill skill shortages in the hospitality sector.
TAFE NSW and other registered training providers will offer 3000 free training places across 29 different courses, including barista training, safe food handling, responsible service of alcohol (RSA), and an introduction to cooking courses.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said the free training would attract job seekers to hospitality venues at a critical time in the sector’s recovery from the pandemic.
“People from all over the State are lining up to get into pubs and clubs, and we want to support those businesses with enthusiastic and skilled staff,” Perrottet said.
“We know businesses are struggling without the international workforce they depended on pre-lockdown. That’s why opportunities like this are so valuable, filling labour gaps and giving jobseekers the opportunity of a bright future in hospitality.”
The industry’s manpower shortage is primarily due to the closing of Australia’s international border, which has kept working holiday visa holders and international students outside. Both groups are the primary personnel sources for the country’s hospitality industry.
The free courses are a response to the sector asking for help with manpower, according to Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education Geoff Lee.
“We’ve opened the doors to the State, and now we want to equip the sector with the confidence to thrive with the rest of the economy,” Lee said.
“There are great career pathways in hospitality; today’s bartender or wait staff can become tomorrow’s pub, bar or restaurant owner.”
Currently, there is a “critical labour shortage” in Australia. Of the 220,000 vacancies on the employment website Seek, about 40 percent of those are hospitality jobs, according to Restaurant & Catering Industry Association CEO Wes Lambert.
“We’re hearing of some businesses paying into the $40 an hour for positions that are normally in the 20s and sign-on bonuses,” Lambert told Sky News.
“Certainly, that shortage has led to increased wages which will ultimately lead to increased menu prices.”
Lambert hopes that more Australian youth can fill these positions in the long run.
“In the long term, we need more Australians to get into traineeships and apprenticeships in hospitality,” he said.
To enrol in a free TAFE hospitality course, visit: https://www.tafensw.edu.au/skills-served-up