NSW government to fund 5000 free RSA courses to address hospitality staff shortages

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Thousands of hospitality workers in New South Wales will be able to undertake free Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) courses over the next five months, as part of a state government initiative to support licensed hospitality venues facing staff shortages.

NSW Treasurer Matt Kean said on Wednesday the government will fund 5000 fee-free courses via TAFE and approved private providers, starting February 7, with refresher RSA courses to also be available free of charge.

“The hospitality sector makes up over two per cent of total gross value added to the NSW economy and supports more than 300,000 jobs, which is why we are committed to supporting this critical industry,” he said.

As well as targeted new workers to the hospitality industry, the government is appealing to employees with lapsed qualifications to take a free refresher course.

“We are encouraging former hospitality workers to return to the sector by allowing anyone whose RSA competency card has expired within the past two years, or will expire before 30 June, to complete a short online refresher course to renew their certification for free,” said Minister for Skills and Training Alister Henskens in a statement.

The announcement comes days after the NSW government revealed the details of a new support package to assist SMEs through the current Omicron outbreak.

The $1 billion package includes weekly support payments equivalent to 20% of an eligible employing business’ weekly payroll, with applications expected to open in mid-February.

The government will also increase the Small Business Fees and Charges Rebate scheme, from $2000 to $3000, and employing businesses will be able to claim rebates on the cost of rapid antigen tests for staff.

More information about the rebate scheme is available here.

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