As the hospitality sector grapples with ongoing pandemic impacts, a major source of stress for local businesses has come from staff and skill shortages.
In a select survey of of frontline pub, restaurant and hotel workers earlier this year, some 58% of employees identified pandemic-induced industry staff shortages as the biggest challenge in hospitality, followed by unsociable hours (51%) and inexperienced staff (37%).
In Northland, some Ministry of Social Development collaborations are helping businesses find staff with newly trained hospitality skills. This week a Ministry of Social Development collaboration with an outlet in the restaurant chain Lone Star is helping the franchise expand its operation in Whangarei.
Whangarei’s Kensington Crossing franchise opened in April 2021 and has been such a hit with local diners that owner Angus Rush is now expanding opening hours to seven days.
Rush recently worked with MSD employment liaison advisor, Rich Valkman, and by the end of the employment drive, four of the five bar, front of house and kitchen positions had been filled with another two taken on as casuals.
“With the right support the part timers will become confident and capable in their mahi, ready to go full time if and when the time is right”, says Rush. “Collaboration with MSD has allowed us to match jobseekers to skills and roles as we were setting up and now expanding in Whangarei. We offer NZQA accredited training in hospitality to our employees, including a New Zealand apprenticeship in cookery, food and beverage”.
“Lone Star has created a very supportive workplace where new employees learn the technical skills needed for a career in hospitality”, MSD Regional Commissioner, Graham MacPherson was reported as saying.
It’s not the first joint activity of this kind in Northland. Earlier this month, a training-to-employment collaboration between a training organisation, Z Energy and the Ministry of Social Development trained jobseekers in customer service and barista skills, as part of helping them into employment.
Community.Scoop also reports that since joining the Lone Star, chef Kristian Te Hoori’s career in hospitality has been on the up. Kristian was introduced to Lone Star owner Angus Rush after a HOSPO START course in Whangarei last December run in conjunction with the Restaurant Association and MSD.
Starting as a kitchen hand he was soon promoted to dessert chef and then to cold chef. Te Hoori’s credits his performance to a strong team culture and guidance from Rush and the Lone Star head chefs. He’s now spreading the word to other jobseekers keen to start their hospitality career with the bar franchise.
Image credit: Lone Star