Locally based training building skills

LONG-term employees at the Waterfalls Cafe and Gallery at Mt Field National Park have been given the skills and confidence to move into their dream role, thanks to a new cookery course delivered by Visitor Training Experience.

The two employees have worked at the cafe for a combined eight years in front of house and support roles, but never had any experience working in a commercial kitchen. Kitchen hand Ange Williams said she had always loved cooking, but a lack of qualifications and confidence had always stopped her from going further.

“Last year VXT ran a classic cookery course, and I attended with another colleague,” Ms Williams said. “I had always wanted to upskill and do a short course, but it never eventuated, it is hard to access training when you live in a regional area like the Derwent Valley.

“The VXT course stood out to me mostly because of the convenience, it wasn’t a large commitment like other courses and was run at a time that accommodated my work.”

Business owner Rachel Power said she applied for a training grant through VXT during the peak of the pandemic in the hope of upskilling her team. “We had lost a cook, and we find it hard to retain staff who are not local to the area because of the large travel times,” Ms Powers said. “Ange had said that she was interested in moving more into roles that saw her working predominately in the kitchen.”

“I will be starting the Mentoring in Tourism and Hospitality Training Program by VXT in late June,” Ms Williams said. VXT CEO Emilie Donovan said the organisation was playing a key role in addressing the skilled worker and labour shortage within the hospitality industry.

VXT was established through a $1 million grant from the Tasmanian Government, with the Tasmanian Hospitality Association and Tourism Industry Council Tasmania as joint shareholders. The purpose of VXT is to support the training needs of the hospitality and tourism industries and help them deliver ‘the Tasmanian experience’.