NSW offers free alcohol and responsible gambling refresher courses to address hospitality staff shortages

Former hospitality workers will have access to free refresher courses on responsible alcohol service and responsible gambling as part of a New South Wales government initiative to address the shortage of workers.

Visiting Albury to make the announcement, Hospitality and Racing Minister Kevin Anderson said the industry needed more people to continue providing a service, especially people with a prior experience.

“It’s about reconnecting workers with the hospitality industry who have left and gone to other parts of the workforce,” he said.

“It’s about making sure they know how to run a bar, know how to serve, know how to manage checkouts, know how to manage kitchens and in front of bars as well as games rooms. »

RSA certificates are essential for workers in some hospitality venues.(ABC News: James Carmody)

Anyone who held an RSA or RCG certificate from February 2020 but let the certificate expire will be eligible for free courses, which typically cost $42, until next year.

Australian Hotels Association NSW liquor and policing director John Green said additional trained staff were also needed to ensure compliance with liquor and gaming laws.

“We are still around 15 to 20% below our current workforce. »

Refresher courses save time

The Astor Hotel Albury, along the NSW-Victoria border, is not immune to these staffing issues.

“It gets tough when you’re looking at a roster and you have nine spots to fill but only seven employees to fill it,” said fired Brendan Cooper.

“We definitely have people working longer hours than is probably their ideal. »

An RSA and RCG qualification is essential to work in one’s hotel and those applying for positions are expected to already have both certificates.

Mr Cooper welcomed the news and said he was considering footing the bill in order to attract staff and stay competitive during the hiring process, which would have hurt his business.

“Because the staff is [in short supply]obviously those that are available are in high demand,” he said.

“The problem at the moment is that there are so many different industries looking for staff that hospitality staff, by their nature, can look to many different industries. »

two men stand at the bar with drinks and talk to the man behind the bar
Minister Kevin Anderson and local MP Justin Clancy discuss the issues border businesses have faced during the pandemic.(ABC Goulburn Murray: Michael Ortolan)

Mr Cooper said any incentive to add to the workforce should be encouraged, but the biggest takeaway from the announcement would be the time saved to complete the course.

“The refresher course is so much faster and easier,” he said.

Typically, people must retake the entire course once their certificate expires, which involves eight hours of face-to-face learning or an online course that can take several days to complete and receive a result.

Callback only takes one hour online.

As an added benefit for border business, the automatic mutual recognition of qualification between NSW and Victoria means that staff could work in both states with one certificate.

“We know that hospitality is doing what it can to encourage people to come back,” said Albury MP Justin Clancy.

Mr Cooper agreed it was a step in the right direction, but with the cost of living rising he said more support was needed for the industry.

“As staff get harder to find, they get more and more expensive… even if you find them sometimes, you might not be able to afford them either,” he said.

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