Hotelier Jerry Schwartz is teaming up with the University of Newcastle to address the hospitality skills shortage by establishing a new training academy for the Hunter Valley.
The private Hunter Hospitality School will be established in Schwartz’s property in Newcastle’s Honeysuckle district and will offer courses in hospitality, IT, spa therapy and brewing.
Schwartz is seeking final accreditation for the training college. In the meantime, he is in discussions with the University of Newcastle to align the training college with the University’s new Bachelor of Tourism, Hospitality and Events course.
The Cert IV course offered by the new Hunter Hospitality School will be structured so as to allow credits for the first year of the new three-year University course.
As part of the courses, students from the college and university will be required to undertake mandatory on-the-job training.
Schwartz owns three hotels in the Hunter Valley and said the emphasis of the courses would be on practical training, as the Hunter region and the rest of Australia were desperately short of job-ready hospitality personnel.
“Covid, the closure of borders, and many years of underfunding in the hospitality training sector have all conspired to create a serious shortage in skilled personnel for the hotel and hospitality industry,” he said.
“We are also experiencing demand in excess of 2019, as more Australians look to discover and enjoy their own country.
“The University degree and our College diplomas will place a major emphasis on developing practical skills, particularly in relation to the Hunter region. So, getting experience in the wine and craft beer sectors will be important as these are major tourism drivers for the regions, as are events.”
Schwartz has also announced plans for a multi-purpose bar and function venue in the same complex that will house the hospitality training college. The Newcastle brewery is expected to be completed in 2024.