The industry is tackling the skills shortage with a new initiative geared towards 17-24-year-olds.

The program is spearheaded by the Restaurant & Catering Association of Australia and funded by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment through the PaTH Business Placement Partnerships.

Interns will undertake 5-6 weeks of training beginning with three days of face-to-face learning covering areas including food handling and knife skills, customer service and the Responsible Service of Alcohol.

The following four weeks will see interns matched with a business and experience on-the-job learning with the goal of achieving long-term employment.

There is no cost involved for interns or businesses; in fact, businesses will receive a $1,000 payment for the training provided.

“Having the opportunity to trial and hire future employees with the financial support from the government lowers the risk for my business and gives the intern the experience and knowledge to gain employment in the industry,” says The Mulberry Group CEO Nathan Toleman.

“This program is all about training people properly from day 1; hospitality business owners have the chance to train people from scratch and influence a whole new generation of professionals who will hopefully go on to enjoy a long and successful career in the industry. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

Industry leaders from chefs to front-of-house professionals will also be accessible throughout the program in a mentorship capacity.

To top it off, participants will have the opportunity to attend a food experience curated by Straight to the Source at the completion of the program.

The program is currently available in Victoria and New South Wales, with future expansion on the cards.

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