Dr Jerry Schwartz

Hotel owner Dr Jerry Schwartz is partnering with University of Newcastle to establish a hospitality training academy at his property in the Hunter Valley.

The private Hunter Hospitality School will offer courses in hospitality, IT, spa therapy and brewing with a key focus on developing practical skills through mandatory on-the-job training.

Schwartz is seeking final accreditation for the training college and is in discussions with the University to align with the University’s new three-year Bachelor of Tourism, Hospitality and Events course. This would allow students who have completed the Cert IV course at Hunter Hospitality School to gain credits for the first year of university course.

With a strong emphasis on practical training, Schwartz is hopeful that the school will provide a pipeline of graduates to hotels and hospitality businesses in the Hunter and beyond that are struggling to find skilled staff.  

“COVID, the closure of borders, and many years of underfunding in the hospitality training sector have all conspired to create a serious shortage in skilled personnel for the hotel and hospitality industry,” he said.

“We are also experiencing demand in excess of 2019, as more Australians look to discover and enjoy their own country. 

“The University degree and our college diplomas will place a major emphasis on developing practical skills, particularly in relation to the Hunter region. So, getting experience in the wine and craft beer sectors will be important as these are major tourism drivers for the regions, as are events.”

Schwartz currently employs over 1000 people in the Hunter region through his many hospitality ventures including three hotels – Rydges Newcastle, Newcastle Novotel and Hunter Valley Crowne Plaza – a brewery, luxury spa, as well as other tourism interests.

In addition, Schwartz will open a brewery on the site of the training college in 2024 as well as a multi-purpose bar and function venue at the adjoining Crossing apartment and retail complex in Honeysuckle.