The Federal Budget has hit the right spot for the restaurant and catering industry in Australia with its moves to address the chronic skills shortage that is hobbling the industry, says national representative body Restaurant and Catering Australia.
In a statement, R&CA said the multi-speed economy has left the restaurant industry “exposed with large skills and labour shortages affecting sustainability”.
“The attractiveness of huge salaries in the resources sector saps other industries of workers, and some of this will be addressed by the new budget measures,” it said.
R&CA chief executive officer John Hart said R&CA welcomed the industry-directed nature of the National Workplace and Productivity Agency saying that ‘a more strategic approach to workforce development was vital.
“In recent times we have seen some of the old system prejudices influence where resources are allocated – which clearly doesn’t work,” he said.
Hart said “filling gaps in the workforce and developing skills are the highest priority for our industries right now.”
“We are still experiencing strong growth and we need skilled workers to keep the doors open,” he said.
“Twenty-seven per cent of employment is in the tourism, hospitality and retail industries yet these industries seem to get left out of the loop by training providers.”
Support for trade based occupations such as cooks and chefs is a very constructive use of Government resources. Restaurants, cafes and the accommodation sector employ 83,200 cooks and chefs and need 56,000 more staff by 2012-13 to keep pace with growth.
R&CA said Budget measures that will help solve the skills challenges alonginclude apprenticeship mentoring, accelerated apprenticeships, the National Workforce Development Fund, and the Productivity Education and Training Fund.
Hospitality Magazine 11th May