R&CA paves a new PaTH for hospitality

20th July 2021 | Eativity editors

The Restaurant & Catering Association of Australia (R&CA) has announced that it’s been funded by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment to deliver an innovative youth employment program tailored to assist the hospitality sector to attract workers.

R&CA’s “Building Skills for the Future of Hospitality” PaTH program will provide young job seekers with the opportunity to gain practical and holistic skills that are transferrable for use in the hospitality industry, helping them to gain meaningful employment.

R&CA CEO Wes Lambert says that the program is one of the first funded through the PaTH Business Placement Partnership program (PBPP).

“We are the first PBPP panel member to be funded to deliver the program,” he says. “Not only will this help skill the next generation of Australian hospitality professionals; it will also help tackle the crippling staffing and skills crisis our industry is currently facing.”

The program consists of three days of face-to-face training which, in partnership with the Institute of Training + Further Education, covers fundamental accredited training such as the responsible service of alcohol, food handling and knife skills, and a suite of micro-credentials and digital accreditations that focus on customer service and code of conduct.

Upon completion of training, job seekers are matched up with R&CA member businesses to undertake a four-week internship, with suitable participants offered ongoing employment. Both intern and employer will be financially supported during this time by the government.

“Having the opportunity to trial and hire future employees with the financial support of the government lowers the risk for my business and gives the person the experience and knowledge to gain employment in hospitality,” says Nathan Toleman, founder and CEO of Melbourne-based hospitality group The Mulberry Group.

Mentors will have a wealth of experience to pass on to interns.

In partnership with Straight To The Source, which connects foodservice professionals with Australia’s diverse food-growing regions and producers, interns will also have the opportunity to attend a hands-on tour and visit food producers, to allow them to engage, connect and understand more about the hospitality sector.

As part of the program, R&CA have hired hospitality professionals, ex-head chefs, front-of-house staff and hospitality business owners to mentor interns in the program. The mentors all have an in-depth understanding of what it’s like to start from scratch in the industry, and how to develop employees in the industry to build successful careers.

“Having the right mentoring and support from day one can really make or break your career,” says Katrina Higham, Head of Training & Education and PaTH Program Manager. “Our mentors are all hospitality professionals who have been in the industry for decades and understand the importance of supporting our youth.”