Work-ready Program a huge success

01 March 2023

VU Polytechnic successfully delivered the Visitor Economy Work Ready Program (Front-of-House Specialisation) to support the recovery and transformation of the Victorian visitor economy.

The aim of the program was to test a new model of training, support those seeking work in hospitality to find employment, and to address industry skills and labour shortages. Designed in close consultation with industry partners, the 7-day program provided customised training at the Footscray Nicholson Campus. From September 2022, three rounds of delivery were offered, and 54 students have now successfully completed the course.

students practise serving in a restaurant

Using a cross-university multi-channel marketing campaign, students were recruited from across Melbourne, particularly in the west and north-west regions with the support of local city councils. Students attended evening information sessions and enrolled in accredited units (Responsible Service of Alcohol and Use Hygienic Practices for Food Safety) and undertook training in hospitality fundamentals, including food and beverage service and introductions to coffee, spirits, wines, beer and liqueurs.

Upon completion of the training, participants were guaranteed job interviews with leading industry partner organisations. A 'Careers Day' involved resume/cover letter writing and interview training, giving students the best chance to secure employment. Industry representatives gave presentations to introduce their organisations and employment/career opportunities and to provide guidance on how to apply for jobs. Students were invited to visit their venue/s for site tours and/or partake in paid trial shifts.

Twenty successful employment outcomes have been reported to date and student feedback has been highly positive with a post-program survey finding that 100% of participants strongly agreed or agreed that they were satisfied with the program and would recommend it to others. The success of the program can be attributed to the diverse skills and knowledge of the project team, consisting of staff from across VU and VU Polytechnic, including hospitality managers and trainers, academics from the School for the Visitor Economy, professionals from Industry & Growth and Work Integrated Learning.

Prestigious industry partner organisations included: Accor Hotels, Comfort Apartments, Delaware North, LUCAS Restaurants, Overnewton Castle, The Pancake Parlour, RACV Clubs and Resorts, Riverland Group, Quest Apartments. The range and scale of these businesses provided students with highly diverse job and career opportunities at iconic Melbourne venues and events, such as Marvel Stadium, MCG, Australian Open, Melbourne Airport, Chin Chin, Kisumé, Society, Yakimono, The Boatbuilders Yard, Ibis, Mantra, Mercure, Movenpick, Novotel, Pullman and Sofitel.

Participants who complete the program are credited two national units and can pathway into further training at VU Polytechnic.

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