Tourism Accommodation Australia CEO, Michael Johnson.


A brainstorming session to address the chronic skills and labour shortages in the tourism and accommodation sectors was the focus of a special meeting at Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA) NSW headquarters in Sydney this week.

The TAA NSW Hotel Advisory Group (which includes hotel operators from Rydges, Ovolo, Radisson, Langham and Marriott) met with representatives from TAFE NSW on Tuesday.

TAA NSW and National CEO Michael Johnson said the aim was to work out the best way to boost support for hotel recruitment strategies across key areas including school-leavers, apprentices and trainees as well as upskilling existing hotel employees.

“Australia’s multi-billion dollar tourism and hospitality sector will need an additional 123,000 employees by 2020,” Johnson said.

“It’s no secret staff are needed right across the board in our sector – from chefs to food and beverage and front office staff, engineers to marketing and finance.

“In greater Sydney alone there are approximately 10,000 rooms in the pipeline – we need to act now to ensure we have the workforce for the future.

“While we are struggling in the city, many regional areas have it a lot worse – this is an issue that needs to be addressed immediately,” he said.

Johnson said TAFE NSW was currently working on developing specific courses and curriculums for the hotel Industry – and hoteliers had a vital role to play.

Options being looked at include:
-Use work placement to provide access to high school students studying Vocational Education and Training programs in hospitality and cookery pathways;
-Developing tailored traineeships in hotel operations to meet the needs of the hotel sector; and
-Developing accredited pre-traineeship and pre-apprenticeship programs to promote careers.

“TAA NSW is currently considering the various options for maximum effectiveness,” Johnson said.

“We are working together on a long-term strategy that will address the hotel skills shortage issue once and for all,” he said.

James Wilkinson

Editor-In-Chief, Hotel Management