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.
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’, and address current 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 have been engaged, they are responsible for identifying opportunities and coordinating the program services and delivery.
The period of the pilot program has been extended from the initial two years by an additional six months to conclude on 31 January 2024. Success of the project during this timeframe will contribute to the long-term sustainability of the CoE.