Finding the right training mix

THE management team developing Perth’s Hospitality Training Centre is on a mission – to develop improved industry participation in the operation and training of hospitality students in Western Australia.

The West Coast College of TAFE project is tipped for completion by 2005 and according to project director, Geoff Hawke, its goal is to lift overall industry involvement.

“A key feature is that it is critical for the industry to provide advice,” Mr Hawke said.

Speaking at last week’s Tourism Training Australian Network National Trainers Conference, Mr Hawke said the $5.5 million facility was the result of a review of the training sector in 2001.

“There will be a 50.6 per cent growth of the hospitality industry compared to 42 per cent increases in other industries by 2008,” Mr Hawke said. “Employment will increase 16 per cent.”

The new facility, which replaces the existing Carine campus, will include a bistro restaurant, cafe and wine bar, theory rooms, mixed food outlet and skills and production kitchens.

“It came through fairly clearly that we should move away from the traditional fine dining training to a more modern bistro/cafe-style training,” Mr Hawke said.

“We have designed a facility that will do that. I had discussions with the industry and some people said to keep the fine dining because they can always move down, but I was told there was more demand for bistro-style training.

“We will have an informal lunch and probably a formal dinner so students can have some fine dining training.”

Industry participation was an important part of the centre’s ongoing operation.

“There will be a critical role for industry,” Mr Hawke said.

“What came through in the research was that we need to establish with the industry a body of people, of employers, who feel they have ownership of the centre and keep it updated with what is required.

“There is a need to provide a more realistic environment in terms of training.”

The Hospitality Training Centre is expecting its first student intake in February 2005.

According to McColl Hospitality Staff director Sharon McColl, while training was important in creating career paths for young people, it also was important for employers to provide good conditions and training.

“It is all very well to have training school but we need employers to provide good conditions,” she told Gusto.

“The problem is that some operators who do good things have people come along and head hunt.

“The Sheraton and all those type of hotels had a hotel traineeship and each student would go through all the departments every three months and they would get to learn all about the business.

“They don’t do it any more because everyone head hunts.”

Ms McColl said fostering young workers was the key to creating a good stable of professional and dedicated hospitality staff.

“A lot of young kids get into the fast food business and work long hours and they get burnt by this industry and they don’t go further,” she said.

“They have a bad experience and they don’t get a professional impression of the industry.

“It’s still up to the employer to look after that new employee and give them a thorough induction of a week, not a few hours, so they understand fully how the place works.”

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