The Victorian government’s AU$5.6 million jobs and training program for priority cohort jobseekers has concluded with new peak industry body, Accommodation Australia calling it “highly successful”.

Through the program, 320 priority cohort jobseekers gained employment with 64 accommodation providers as room attendants and food and beverage staff.

Accommodation Australia CEO, Michael Johnson, said the program “changed hundreds of lives” and supported businesses through a chronic staff shortage.

“This funding was a win for jobseekers, our members, and our industry,” he said.

“The program transformed 328 jobseekers into in-demand skilled workers by working together with our metro and regional member properties.

“The program successfully maximised the return on the state government investment by matching the right people to the right jobs, nurturing long term careers for people at properties who need them.”

Participants undertook an intensive immersion training program with mentoring and support for employers. They received mental health support, housing assistance, GP assistance, and access to psychology and psychiatry services throughout as well as public transport assistance, petrol and cost of living assistance.

TFE Hotels General Manager, Andrew Edwards, said the project proved to be a success for a number of properties.

“It served as a platform that connected us with precisely the type of workers we sought to attract – individuals who exhibited a strong willingness to undergo training and a steadfast commitment to a long-term career within the industry,” he said.

“Notably, the project’s impact has been particularly pronounced in filling our entry-level positions. We have witnessed remarkable success stories wherein applicants, despite lacking prior experience, were able to swiftly integrate into their roles with remarkable efficiency and efficacy, thanks to the training opportunities provided.”