Industry play for Drysdale
Hospitality skills need priority, says report
THE once world renowned Drysdale hospitality school would be cut loose from TasTAFE as part of a radical solution to skills shortages being pushed by industry heavyweights.
A taskforce, including representatives of Mona, Federal Group and The Maria Island Walk, has recommended the campuses be part of a separate corporation governed by an industry board.
The Servicing Our Growth report, obtained by the Sunday Tasmanian, says Drysdale has lost its focus on the urgent needs of the sector.
TASTAFE should hand control of its Drysdale campuses to the hospitality industry, a heavyweight taskforce examining crippling skills shortages has recommended.
The once world-renowned training school has come in for major criticism from the State Government’s Tourism and Hospitality Taskforce, which includes representatives of Mona, Federal Group and The Maria Island Walk.
The group’s Servicing Our Growth report, obtained by the Sunday Tasmanian, recommends Drysdale be cut loose from TasTAFE management and be overseen by a board of industry representatives.
“Industry believes that Drysdale is currently more focused on educational participation and student engagement than on industry workforce development and skills priorities,” the report finds.
“Industry requires Drys- dale to change . . . and focus greater efforts on industry engagement, contemporary industry knowledge, relationships and responsiveness.”
The report hits Government desks as the Budget allocates $3.2 million to turn Drysdale’s Hobart campus into a centre of excellence.
The timing of that announcement, made 10 days ago, has left some in the industry perplexed.
It also comes amid turmoil at TasTAFE over CEO Stephen Conway’s resignation after an Integrity Commission investigation.
The taskforce recom- mends TasTAFE create a wholly owned subsidiary corporation with its own brand to run tourism and hospitality training.
Industry should play a leading role allocating training funds to overcome a “disproportionate focus” on national qualifications at the expense of urgent local needs, the report recommends.
Private training providers would continue to compete for a share of funds.
An “industry college” should be investigated with tourism and hospitality curriculum embedded into courses and allowing stu-
dents to graduate with a TCE, school-based apprenticeship, diploma or advanced diploma and pathway to UTAS.
“The industry college should become the breeding ground for the next generation of Tasmanian industry leaders and entrepreneurs,” the report says.
Among its 18 recommendations are:
FUNDING separated from TasTAFE for the newly created corporation.
A PROMOTIONAL campaign on career opportunities in the sector be developed.
SCHOOL-BASED new apprenticeships be promoted.
A SUPPORT package to transition long-term unemployed be developed.
SHORTER, more focused qualifications be considered.
RESEARCH into dropout rates be completed.
The industry big guns, headed by Tourism Tasmania chair James Cretan, were tasked in December with finding a solution to skills shortages that could increase as several major hotels open in Hobart.
The Tasmanian Hospitality Association has estimated 300 vacancies for chefs and cooks around the state.
Hundreds of jobs also need filling in accommodation and tour operations.
Tasmania is on track to welcome at least 1.5 million tourists — up from the current 1.24 million — in 2020.
It is estimated a workforce of 20,000 will be needed, up from 15,000 in 2012-13.
“Industry will reap the rewards or taste the bitterness of failure from their own planning engagement and leadership of the sector,” the report says.
A State Government spokesman said the report’s recommendations were being considered.
“We are committed to working with industry to ensure Tasmanians have the opportunity to work in this exciting and booming industry,” he said.