Centre of Excellence | Stage 1

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An industry-led project, the South Coast Centre of Excellence (CoE) creates a pipeline of skilled workers by promoting career pathways in hospitality and tourism to encourage staff attraction and retention, whilst providing lasting careers for residents including young and Indigenous workers.


Destination Sydney Surrounds South (DSSS) successfully secured grant funding to establish an industry-led, virtual tourism and
hospitality Centre of Excellence (CoE) for the South Coast. Funding was received through the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund (BLERF), jointly funded by the Commonwealth and NSW Governments.

Stage 1

Working closely with Destination Southern NSW, the CoE was designed to aid the economic recovery of bushfire-impacted local government areas of Shoalhaven, Eurobodalla and Bega Valley by addressing workforce shortages; elevating visitor experiences; and supporting product diversification, to drive increased tourism yield (visitor spend), reduce seasonality and support resilient local businesses.

The CoE supports a ‘career’ pathway into the sector, rather than simply creating ‘jobs’, addressing perceptions that hospitality and tourism has limited long-term career opportunities. To ensure cost-effective delivery, the CoE avoids duplication in its service delivery by leveraging existing networks and training programs. Two highly qualified and experienced officers were engaged to identify opportunities and coordinate the program services and delivery.

Over the course of the project the following key achievements were delivered:

  • 106 participants skilled in the service of wine by completing the internationally recognised Wine & Spirit Education Trust course Level 2 and an additional 10 completing the Level 3 course.
  • 615 tourism and hospitality operators attend 15 workshops and presentations to increase skills and knowledge to support and grow their business
  • 229 attend ten local knowledge famils to increase awareness of local produce and tourism products in the regions. These events created new business collaborations and partnerships that added value to local tourism offerings
  • The Indigenous Connections famil introduced three new Indigenous tourism products that are now in the market to support the tourism offering in the Bega Valley which will add to the choice of tours for cruise passengers.
  • 100 participated in the Mentor program which allowed them to establish their networks and gain new skills to develop their career opportunities
  • 18 local industry workers received a scholarship to develop their skills with Certificate III in hospitality
  • 26 attend hospitality short courses to upskill and gain employment with local businesses

These programs were designed from feedback provided by the industry. Throughout the program the Centre of Excellence engaged with industry stakeholders through surveys to gain insights into the challenges faced by operators. This allowed the Centre of Excellence to finetune the programs to maximise impact.

Find out more about the South Coast Centre of Excellence (CoE) here.

Click the following links to find out more about the Centre of Excellence Stage 2 Business Case project and the NSW Choose Tourism Program.

Date completed

March 2024

Value of project