FREE TOURISM TRAINING ON OFFER AHEAD OF BUMPER HOLIDAY SEASON

As state and national borders reopen, the NSW Government is helping the tourism sector address critical skills shortages with thousands of free training places on offer ahead of a bumper holiday season.

Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education Geoff Lee today announced more than 2,700 fee-free training places initially available across 35 short courses at TAFE NSW and other registered training providers with scope to increase with demand. This includes training in specialist outdoor recreation and accommodation and customer services for businesses large and small.

Mr Lee said the training is available now to attract more workers to tourism businesses at a vital time in the sector’s recovery, as well as open the door to a new career for thousands of people.

“People from around the country are lining up to book holidays all over our great state and the NSW Government wants to help support those businesses attract enthusiastic and skilled staff,” Mr Lee said.

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“Industry estimates around 600,000 staff across the country left the sector during the pandemic, which is why training opportunities like these free courses are so valuable, filling labour gaps and giving jobseekers the opportunity of a bright future in tourism.”

Minister for Jobs, Investment Tourism and Western Sydney and Minister for Trade and Industry Stuart Ayres said access to skilled workers is one of the greatest challenges facing tourism and hospitality businesses in NSW right now.

“Our tourism operators, event owners and local tourism organisations are the backbone of this industry and they need more skilled staff to rebuild. Offering fee-free training means we can support both businesses and workers, which will help grow NSW’s visitor economy,” Mr Ayres said.

A recent Tourism and Transport Forum Australia survey of more than 500 businesses reveals a third of tourism businesses who took had to let staff go during COVID-19, compared to less than ten percent in other sectors.

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Tourism Accommodation Australia CEO Michael Johnson said the tourism, hospitality and accommodation sector was crying out for more skilled staff.

“This initiative is a great way to give school leavers and employees displaced over the last 18 months the skills they need to join our great industry,” Mr Johnson said.

Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF) Chief Executive Margy Osmond said the free training would help to provide valuable entry opportunities for people keen to join the vibrant NSW tourism sector.

“Tourism & Transport Forum Australia is fully behind the NSW Government’s efforts to rebuild skills capacity and address gaps across the state’s tourism labour market,” Ms Osmond said.

“As the NSW visitor economy recovers, the tourism industry that can take its employees all around the state from the coast to the far west, as well as much further afield and it can also reward them with pathways to senior leadership roles over time.”

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Free courses available under the program include:

  • Outdoor Leadership (Basic Water Rescues, Snorkel, Lead Snorkeling, Paddle and Lead Stand Up Board on Inland Flatwater)
  • Tourism Product Design and Promotion
  • Hospitality (Interact with Customers, Safe Work Practices and Visitor Information, Housekeeping, Responsible Service of Alcohol, Social/Cultural Sensitivity)
  • Outdoor Recreation (Vertical Rescues, Abseil, Establish Ropes and Lead Single Pitch Abseiling on Natural Surfaces)
  • Bicycle Servicing
  • Swimming and Water Safety Teacher
  • Infection control

Today’s announcement complements the nearly 250,000 free training places being funded under the joint State and Federal JobTrainer program, and adds to the NSW Government investment in free training recently announced for the Retail and Hospitality sectors.