R&CA announces internship program to assist the hospitality industry’s path to recovery


Restaurant & Catering Association of Australia (R&CA) will be releasing a new voluntary internship program designed to address the training gaps and staff shortages in Australia’s hospitality industry.

Funded by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE), the program will be run through the PaTH Business Placement Partnerships (Business Partnerships).

The program is a five to six-week program that aims to provide young job seekers, mainly between the ages of 17 to 24, with tactile and holistic skills that they can directly apply within the hospitality industry, increasing meaningful employment.

Interns will have three days of face-to-face training that covers the fundamentals of accredited training, such as Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA), Food Handling, and knife skills. Micro-credential and digital badges that cover customer service and code of conduct within the hospitality industry will also be covered.

Once completed, interns will be matched with an R&CA member business to undertake a four-week internship with the potential for ongoing employment.

According to a statement released, R&CA says the program differentiates itself from others through its support of both the business and intern during the employment journey. R&CA hopes this will encourage long-term employment.

The program is subsidised by the Australian Government and has no cost to the intern or business owner to take part in. For every eligible intern that a business takes in and trains, it will receive an additional $1000 to compensate for on-the-job training, supervision and the support the business has provided.

A collection of ex-head chefs, former business owners, and front-of-house professionals will also mentor both the interns and business owners throughout the program to ensure both sides are supported.

These professionals will be known as MTAs (Mentor, Trainer/Assessors) and have been part of the hospitality industry for decades.

Wes Lambert, CEO of R&CA says this program is the first of its kind in Australia to be funded through the Business Partnerships and hopes it will help the hospitality industry to recover.

“Australia’s hospitality industry has been brought to its knees as a result of COVID-19, and the pathway program has been specifically designed to help train the next generation of hospitality professionals, while tackling the crippling staffing and skills crisis our industry is currently facing,” says Wes.

Nathan Toleman, CEO of the Mulberry Group, a hospitality group operating seven stand-alone venues, says the program couldn’t have come at a better time, and believes it will benefit both the business owner and the intern.

“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 Nathan.

“This program is all about training people properly from day one. 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.”

At the end of the internship, in partnership with hospitality consultant Straight to the Source, interns will have the opportunity to attend either a hands-on food experience or a producer or market tour. This will provide interns the chance to further engage, connect, and understand where food comes from.

“Creating hands-on learning experiences based around produce, regional provenance will inspire and engage interns that are interested in the hospitality industry and upskill them with desirable knowledge to be competent and enthusiastic employees,” says Lucy Allon and Tawyna Bahr, Founders of Straight to the Source.

For more information, visit www.rca.asn.au

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