Centre of Excellence | FINAL UPDATE

A group of people smiling and clapping

Welcome to the Final Centre of Excellence Update

In this final month, the Centre of Excellence delivered a fifth Wine & Spirit Education Trust course in the Shoalhaven that was attended by 24 hospitality workers involved in the sale and service of wine. 

The Centre of Excellence also delivered a series of five Workshops on how to manage the peaks and troughs in the visitor economy. Kate Mather and Catherine Shields presented to 100 operators across the three regions on managing seasonality.
The workshop encouraged operators to take a strategic overview of their businesses and to explore practical solutions to address the challenges of the ups and downs in regional tourism. A workbook, designed for the workshops, guided attendees to review their branding and online presence and gave practical tips on developing skills like storytelling and how to use influencers. Strategic marketing planning exercises focused on creating market “avatars” and designing social media channels around seasonal challenges to position businesses to maximise bookings.

These workshops were the final events delivered by the Centre of Excellence which presented 52 programs and events since June 2022 attended by more than 1,500 tourism and hospitality operators and members of their teams.
In the final wrap, we would like to share the following key achievements:

  • 106 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 and throughout the program the Centre of Excellence has engaged with the industry through surveys to gain insights into the challenges faced by operators that allowed the Centre of Excellence to finetune the programs to maximise its impact. Thank you to all of those who completed these surveys as they were instrumental in the development of the programs.

The following is a testimonial from one of the industry stakeholders: 

“The support and opportunities provided by the South Coast Centre of Excellence have been invaluable to our business and our team. Through their well-organized events and comprehensive mentorship programs, we’ve been able to: 

  • Forge collaborative opportunities, expanding our products and services. 
  • Introduce our offerings to a broader industry audience, significantly increasing our visibility. 
  • Upskill our team, enhancing their knowledge about our products, services, and the business landscape of our region. 
  • Access ongoing opportunities that have fostered our business growth and development. 
  • Gain invaluable insights and guidance from industry leaders through valuable mentoring sessions.
These resources have not only contributed to our business’s growth but have also positively impacted the South Coast tourism and hospitality community, fostering a spirit of collaboration and innovation. We are deeply appreciative of the role the South Coast Centre of Excellence plays in our ongoing success and the wider industry’s development.”

– Jessica Taunton, Navigate Expeditions

Thank You

We would sincerely like to thank you the operators who have supported the South Coast Centre of Excellence by attending the programs and taking advantage of what was offered to gain knowledge and develop the skills of your teams. We would also like to thank the business chambers for sharing our notices with their members, the local Councils and in particular their tourism bodies for supporting and sharing our programs with their communities. 
We would like to thank TAFE NSW for working with Centre of Excellence on several of the programs such as the Scholarship, Schools programs and webinars. We would also like to acknowledge the support from the Department of Regional NSW that has championed this program from the beginning and in particular for their partnership with the Indigenous Connections program of events.
Lastly, we would like to thank the teams at Destination Sydney Surrounds South and Destination Southern for their contribution and support over the life of the Centre of Excellence and the expert guidance of the members of the Steering Committee.
It has been a privilege to have had the opportunity to work on this project and we are delighted with the project’s success. We hope that we have made an impact and we encourage the industry to continue collaborating and building partnerships to grow your businesses and cement the NSW South Coast as the destination of choice but also of EXCELLENCE.
Robyn Johnson and Sam Tooley

Where To From Here?

Destination Sydney Surrounds South and Destination Southern will host a number of resources collated by the Centre of Excellence on their websites. These include:

  • Videos of all the local knowledge famils to enable operators to share with new recruits to build awareness of local product
  • Information sheets on the businesses that participated in the famils on location, operation hours and what they have to offer visitors
  • NSW South Coast video trails mapping local produce, experiences and attractions, wineries, breweries and distilleries and Indigenous tourism products
  • Recordings of the Destination Food, Customer Service and Leveraging Technology presentations
. . .

One of the lasting achievements of the South Coast Centre of Excellence was a much more connected industry across the three regions, and we encourage you and your teams to stay engaged. One way to do this is to attend the Destination Sydney Surrounds Visitor Economy Symposium on 4 June 2024 at Park Proxi Gibraltar in Bowral. Click here to register to attend this event.  

You can also stay in touch through the Destination Sydney Surrounds South and Destination Southern socials.

Other Resources

iAccelerate Centre

The iAccelerate Centre at UOW focuses on cultivating entrepreneurship and offers training programs to achieve business success. This year, iAccelerate has received funding to deliver its RISE Program in regional NSW for FREE.
Who is it for?

  • Existing businesses looking to revitalise their strategy to launch new products or services
  • Entrepreneurs looking to turn an idea into a business. We provide the tools, mentorship and resources you need.
  • Not-for-profits and social enterprises looking to make a financially sustainable impact in their community. We’ll assist you in creating a viable, mission-driven business
The RISE Program connects businesses with expert mentors.
RISE is an 8-week program delivered online or in person at our UOW Regional Campuses throughout 2024.
The program is made up of:
  • Facilitator-led workshops
  • Self-paced online learning
  • Active learning
  • Mentoring sessions with industry experts and culminates with a live pitch event.
You will learn how to develop a pitch that you can use to attract paying customers, investors, and the media.
The RISE Program will be running five industry-targeted cohorts on different UOW regional campuses (Bega Valley, Eurobodalla, Shoalhaven and the Southern Highlands). See below for key dates – noting the next two programs close for applications on 8 April.  While they are ‘themed’ to encourage the listed industries to participate, the cohorts will be from a mix of businesses including visitor economy.     
Regardless of which industry you are in, you are also welcome to join any of the cohorts in person or remotely.

Upcoming cohorts:

  • High Quality Food / Agribusiness | Southern Highlands Campus
    • May – June 2024
    • Applications close on 8 April 2024
  • Circularity | Bega Valley Campus
    • May – June 2024
    • Applications close on 8 April 2024
  • Ecotourism | Eurobodalla Campus
    • Aug – Sept 2024
    • Applications close on 21 May 2024
  • Advanced Manufacturing | Shoalhaven Campus
    • Aug – Sept 2024
    • Applications close on 21 May 2024

. . .

NSW First Program

Destination NSW delivers the NSW First Program to assist tourism businesses across the state to develop, promote and sell their tourism products.

It includes face to face workshops and online webcasts that offer ‘how-to’ insights on a range of topics for the tourism industry, with events regularly added to the calendar.

Find out more and view on demand webcasts on the Destination NSW website.

For assistance with the NSW First Program and to discuss your business’ needs, please contact the Industry Development Manager at your Destination Network:

For Shoalhaven operators:
Aaron Matis
Destination Sydney Surrounds South
[email protected]
For Eurobodalla & Bega Valley operators:
Jenny Robb
Destination Southern NSW
[email protected]
. . .

Business Connect

Looking for support in running your business? Find and book a Business Connect webinar or event from business experts. Develop your business skills and help your business achieve its potential. Visit the Business Connect website for further details.

We welcome any feedback on our programs the Centre of Excellence and any ideas that could be considered to develop and grow tourism and hospitality on the NSW South Coast.

Speak soon,
Robyn and Sam

Robyn Johnson
Manager Skills and Opportunities
[email protected]
Sam Tooley
Industry Partnerships Specialist
[email protected]
This Local Economic Recovery project is jointly funded by the Commonwealth and the New South Wales Government under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.
Images: (1) a group of people clapping, (2-4) WSET courses held during 2024, (5-10) Managing Seasonality workshops held during 2024