Barcats & Diageo partner to address shortage of skilled workers

November 29, 2021
By Ioni Doherty

Hospitality platform Barcats has partnered with Diageo to boost training in Australia to help the hospitality industry fill the vacancies being experienced due the significant and ongoing skills shortage.

Barcats CEO and founder Jeffrey Williams said hospitality venues around Australia were boosting the pay packets of thousands of workers in a bid to attract and retain workers, with some being paid hundreds, and, in some cases, thousands of dollars more because of the severe skills shortage in the industry.

“The shortage is so dire there is considerable poaching of staff within the industry,” he said.

“Sixty-three percent of venues around Australia* report having to pay staff significantly more than usual to attract or retain them. This means that a qualified bartender who, before COVID, would earn about $26 an hour may now earn $50 an hour. Likewise, some qualified kitchen hands have seen their hourly wage increase from $26 an hour pre-pandemic to $42 now.”

Barcats runs The Bar Essentials course, designed by Diageo Bar Academy, which teaches recruits the fundamental skills of working behind a bar. (Picture right is Tom Gay who completed a training course at The Marlborough Hotel in Newtown.)

During the 90-minute course, attendees learn basic skills such as glass handling, mixing drinks, expert pouring and consistency of service and training is led by bartenders who work in some of Australia’s favourite and busiest bars. They are hand-picked as course teachers for their extensive experience and skills.

Diageo has invested $11.5 million into Australian hospitality’s recovery, including the Bar Essential Course run by Barcats, to train and upskill workers.

“We are giving the opportunity for all Aussies to help the industry by doing quality training so they can secure a great job.  We have more than 1,000 jobs on our platform waiting to be filled,” said Mr Williams.

Mr Williams says he has observed host venues are snapping up raw recruits just hours into their training.

“The demand for training hospitality workers is unprecedented. We have had to increase the number of our courses to help the industry out,” Mr Williams said.

Angus McPherson, Managing Director of Diageo Australia, said the company had invested money into training programs, including those run by Barcats, as it knew the hospitality industry needed help.

“This initiative is part of our new global program “Raising the Bar”, which is designed to support pubs and bars welcoming back customers and recovering following the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.

“The quicker people are trained, the quicker the industry and the broader Australian economy can get back to normal – a win for both employees and businesses.”

Applejack Hospitality ‘s Matt Jenkins said: “It’s great we can offer a place like The Butler Potts Point to help support the training efforts that Diageo and Barcats are undertaking for the betterment of our industry.

“I’m hopeful these courses will lead to continued interest and open the door to further development and a long career working in the hospitality industry.”

The move for more training was also backed by the General Manager and Licensee of the popular The Woollahra Hotel, Simon Barbato, who said he now had to pay a significant spotters fee to find staff – $1500 for full time staff and $750 for casuals.

* Barcats Industry Insights Report 2022, conducted around Australia last month.

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