The implications of COVID-19 and the shutdown of international travel is both the cause of, and solution to one of the big problems facing Australia’s hospitality industry.

Venue operators and managers have been hit by staffing shortages as the usual influx of international travellers and backpackers has not happened this year as borders have been closed. However, the closure of borders does mean that Australian students are not having a gap year, and are now eager to work.

A new survey conducted on behalf of hospitality staffing platform found that 83.80 per cent of high school students would not be having a gap year this year. The survey also found that a massive 88.73 per cent of students were looking for part-time or full-time time work now that high school had ended, with 68.31 per cent happy to work in the hospitality industry.

“The hospitality industry has been battling with nationwide lockdowns, forced restrictions and a significant staff shortage due to the lack of backpackers travelling to Australia this year, and this influx of young talent could be crucial at helping the nation’s venues get back on their feet,” says Jeffrey Williams, CEO and Founder of Barcats, Australia’s leading hospitality platform which connects venues with job seekers.

“We’ve partnered with key training partners and launched a series of free five-day courses where students, and job seekers of all ages, can get fully equipped with every certificate and essential skill required to instantly and confidently get a job in hospitality.”

Williams says “the research revealed that 19.72% of students felt a lack of training was the biggest barrier to working in hospitality, and by providing free comprehensive courses we hope to encourage more students to join the industry. Students will save hundreds of dollars, gain job connections and will walk out completely employable with the required RSA and RCG certificates, food safety knowledge, Covid-19 Compliance training and practical training from industry experts such as how to three plate carry.”

Barcats’ five-day essential hospitality courses are currently available in Sydney and Brisbane with dates in November and December. Courses in Perth and Melbourne are set to launch 2021. Sign up is available via

The survey also found:

  • Most students (76.06 per cent) will look for part-time work now school has ended to supplement their higher education at university, college or TAFE, with 12.67 per cent looking for full-time work.
  • Many high school students (59.16 per cent) felt anxious about finding a job now school had ended
  • 65.49 per cent of students said COVID had not made them re-think their desired career path and profession.

Williams added: “We have hundreds of jobs available right now, including a number of great regional opportunities that students could pair with regional travel for an Aussie gap year, including roles in the Whitsunday’s Hamilton Island, NSW’s Hunter Valley and Broome in WA.”

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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