News Article

Helping job seekers upskill for Hospitality jobs


   Tuesday 2nd February, 2021

Gippsland is home to a growing number of restaurants and cafes, with creative chefs and menus that champion the premium quality local produce the region’s food bowl is known for.

However, there is one common problem across the hospitality sector – staff.

Businesses of all sizes across many locations are struggling with the lack of consistent, committed and good quality staff.

In regular contact with hospitality employers all over the region, the Gippsland Regional Agrifood Employment Program (GRAEP) is acutely aware of the problem, so they’re collaborating with Traralgon Neighbourhood Learning House and TAFE Gippsland to provide some pre-employment training to focus on the vitally important soft communication skills, followed by some industry accredited courses.

The practical communications skills short course is called “Get Serving” and participation is free for job seekers who register themselves with GRAEP.

Get Serving has been created after the success of the Serving the Valley course offered by the Traralgon Neighbourhood Learning House in 2020 and Adult Education Officer, Julie Callaghan, is delighted to be partnering with GRAEP to continue to develop these much-needed skills to job seekers of all ages across Gippsland.

“Our course feedback from last year was participants found the practical content extremely helpful and many have gone on to find employment. One of the really important outcomes is rebuilding confidence and feeling comfortable communicating in a workplace again – this is a huge help no matter what industry they find a job in “she said.

With an emphasis on practical face to face learning in a Covid safe environment, Get Serving will feature three days training then a one-day placement in a local café or restaurant – giving participants the opportunity to impress a potential employer with their new-found skills.

The content is engaging and fun, providing practical tips and guidance around communication with customers, personal presentation, understanding timelines in kitchen, and how to work well with other team members in busy, often stressful environments.

GRAEP Program Manager, Julie Tuhi is confident this will result in some enthusiastic and job-ready candidates who may look more closely at their long-term career opportunities in hospitality.

“I’ve had lots of conversations with hospitality businesses, and they’re all delighted we are running this course – the most common thing they’re saying is send the participants to us when they’ve finished the training! “.

Recognising the urgent need for this type of course, GRAEP, funded by Jobs Victoria and delivered by Food & Fibre Gippsland, is covering the cost of a region wide roll out of Get Serving, which has been based on the highly successful ‘Serving the Valley” course already facilitated by Traralgon Neighbourhood Learning House.

The first course will be from the 8th to the 11th of February in Traralgon, with courses to be available in every shire over the next few months.

Traralgon Neighbourhood Learning House Adult Education Officer, Julie Callaghan is looking forward to welcoming job seekers to Get Serving next week.

“Our course feedback from last year was participants found the practical content extremely helpful and many have gone on to find employment. One of the really important outcomes is rebuilding confidence and feeling comfortable communicating in a workplace again – this is a huge help no matter what industry they find a job in”.

Local restaurant and café owners are thrilled with the focus on soft communication skills.

“So much of what we do in hospitality is about good communication – it doesn’t matter if it was the nicest meal they’ve ever eaten, if the service was inattentive or not very engaging – that’s what they’ll remember about their experience. To have employees who understand the importance of that, via some practical training will be a huge benefit to the region”.

And the support GRAEP can give job seekers to broaden their opportunities to work in hospitality doesn’t just stop once they’ve completed this training, thanks to the collaborative generosity of TAFE Gippsland.

Once participants have completed Get Serving, they’re encouraged to continue their upskilling journey with TAFE Gippsland, with free places available in the Safe Food Handling and Responsible Service of Alcohol course.
GRAEP will continue to be on hand for all Get Serving participants to provide information and guidance on further training courses, especially for those who are interested in pursuing their career in the sector.

There’ll also be support to help participants develop and update their resumes.

Job seekers are encouraged to register by calling the Traralgon Neighbourhood Learning House on 5174 6199 or email enquiries@tnlh.org.au

To register as a job seeker with GRAEP, go to foodandfibregippsland.com.au and click on employment program.