Western Australia is facing an extreme shortage of Chefs and not enough is available to fill the current vacancies at cafes and restaurants in the state.
Figures released by the Dept. of Jobs and Small Business show that only 2 in every 5 vacancies for Chefs have been filled.
This problem has been attributed to the lack of Skilled Visa migrants. With the abrupt closure of the Subclass 457 Visa in 2017, the state has not come up with alternate routes to attract Chefs. Also, the State Govt. has failed to incentivize restaurant owners to hire apprentices. Adding to this problem is the state’s decision to eliminate the list that fast-tracked foreign workers.
Paul Papalia, Minister for Tourism, said that this was an urgent matter and will be placed in front of the Cabinet. Australia is facing an issue of attracting and retaining skilled workers in the hospitality sector, added the Minister.
Iain McDougall, GM of Hospitality Group Training, said that 3,000 new Chefs will be needed in the next 3 years. However, based on the current apprenticeships, only 60 would be available, as quoted by The West Australian.
Mr McDougall believes that Visa restrictions should be for overseas Chefs. Western Australia should currently focus on Training like Victoria and New South Wales. These two states impart fee-free training. However, in Western Australia, it will cost an employer $6,000 to take on an apprentice.
As per AHA (Australian Hotels Association), the Chef shortage is so extreme that it could force some food joints to close in the coming years. AHA Chief Exec. For WA, Bradley Wood said that low apprenticeships and strict Visa rules are to be blamed. These have resulted in the depletion of the necessary pipeline of Cooks and Chefs in the state.
Tourism WA is currently working in close collaboration with Hospitality Group Training to attract Chefs to the state. It is developing a 2-year program to encourage students to enter the hospitality sector and become Chefs.
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