New program to land year 12 graduates a dream job in hospitality for free

James Coleman 5 January 2022
Craig Shannon with hospitality students

ClubsACT CEO Craig Shannon with some of the students who partook in the pilot Career Pathway Program. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

The path into the hospitality industry has never been easier for young people thanks to a new Australian School-Based Apprenticeship (ASBA) program that offers all of the training with none of the cost.

ClubsACT, Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) and the ACT Education Directorate have joined forces to create a Career Pathway Program that will allow year 12 graduates to access free training for a career in hospitality.

Interested students will be able to choose to undertake hospitality training while still in college and come out the other side fully equipped for a career in one of Canberra’s many clubs, restaurants or cafes.

The new ASBA program rolls out in earnest in 2022, but a pilot version run at the CIT campus in Reid in December 2021 hinted at exactly what will be involved.


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A number of ACT public schools took up expressions of interest for a week-long ‘boot camp’, and all the accepted students were able to enrol into CIT’s free ‘Job Trainer’ program.

It was then onto one week of face-to-face training, preparing them to work in the hospitality industry immediately upon graduation.

This training covered key vocational competencies needed to enter the hospitality industry such as the responsible service of alcohol, safe food handling practices, hygiene practices for food safety and responsible gambling services.

Man in ASBA program hospitality class

Undertaking a week of face-to-face training at CIT is all it takes to kick-start a career in hospitality. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

During the course of five days, there were presentations from celebrity chefs and members of participating organisations who spoke of their experiences within the industry and the many different career paths available in hospitality and tourism.

Upon successful completion of the training, each participating organisation contacted the graduates to offer them a job.

ClubsACT CEO Craig Shannon says first impressions are vital.

“The size of the pilot program wasn’t big, but all of the students left happy and with employment opportunities,” he says.

All up, ClubsACT members have created more than 60 paid positions to support year 12 school leavers to start a career in the capital region’s hospitality industry across a range of areas.

ClubsACT CEO Craig Shannon

ClubsACT CEO Craig Shannon. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

Craig says that when the ASBA program arrives in ACT public schools in 2022, it’s hoped it will top up the employment pool after several tough years for the local club industry.

“One of the things we’ve realised is that we need to generate a new pool of employees within the local region rather than always looking externally,” he says.

ClubsACT is the peak association representing the interests of the ACT’s not-for-profit licenced club industry, with memberships well above 500,000 across the local region, and employees numbering more than 1700.

But COVID-19 decimated the largely casual workforce, with no international students coming in and many employees turning to other careers that haven’t been so affected by lockdowns.


READ ALSO: It’s been 45 years since ClubsACT first stood up for Canberra’s community


“We are looking at ways we can attract local students and young people to a career in hospitality, and where possible, give them access to the training that’s required,” says Craig.

During the coming year, ClubsACT is prioritising industry employment and the development of new employees, and entrance into the industry is a key part of this.

The collaboration between ClubsACT, CIT and the Education Directorate will continue throughout early 2022 as ClubsACT wheels out the ABSA program in partnership with the ACT’s public schools.

For more information, visit ClubsACT.


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