The New South Wales government has extended free ‘refresher’ courses for those with a lapsed responsible service of alcohol (RSA) certificate, as the hospitality sector struggles to find and retain qualified staff members.
On Monday, Minister for Hospitality and Racing Kevin Anderson revealed courses designed to get hospitality workers up-to-speed on safe alcohol service will be free until February 2023.
Workers whose licenses expired after February 2020 — the dawn of the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia, which saw legions of hospitality staff put out of operation of leave the field entirely — will be eligible for the fee-free courses.
The scheme will also extend to ‘refresher’ courses for responsible service of gambling certificates, needed for those who operate around pokie machines.
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Although most COVID-19 restrictions on alcohol-serving and gambling venues have been lifted, many hospitality venues are still struggling to operate at full capacity.
Not only did Australia’s closed border policy slash the number of incoming workers who once graced Australian kitchens and bars, locally-based staff may have transitioned into entirely new industries when the pandemic set in.
“We want to make it easy for those people to quickly and freely renew those certifications and remove any barriers that are preventing them from re-entering the hospitality sector,” Anderson said in a statement.
It is not NSW’s first attempt to bolster the number of qualified hospitality staff, having offered thousands of free RSA courses to jobseekers at the start of the year.
Other states have also launched policies designed to ease the staffing crisis. Notably, South Australia declared it would provide £10 return tickets to Adelaide for British working holidaymakers.