CoE Update | May 2023

Welcome to the latest Centre of Excellence Update

May continues to see a range of programs delivered including a pilot program in Eden and a special presentation during the Shoalhaven Food Network’s Autumn Celebration of Food.

Wine & Spirit Education Trust

The Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) levels 2 and 3 kicked off in Narooma and Nowra in May with 38 local wine professionals gaining this highly regarded international qualification. Attendees of the courses will learn how to taste and describe wine made from eight principal grape varieties and will gain an understanding of the environmental factors, grape-growing, winemaking and maturation options influence the style and quality of wines.
Since August last year the Centre of Excellence has enriched the wine education of 85 industry professionals across the Bega Valley, Eurobodalla and Shoalhaven.

Centre of Excellence Mentor Program

The Mentor program was launched in early May and is designed to support the future leaders in the hospitality and tourism sectors on the South Coast. There are 62 mentors and mentees participating in this six-month program that have been matched with industry leaders who will provide coaching, support, advice, motivation, and exposure.
Throughout the mentor journey they will have access to a range of resources to support their participation. We look forward to learning about their partnerships in November at the conclusion of the program.

Shoalhaven Experience and Attraction Local Knowledge Famils

The last of the three Experience and Attractions Local Knowledge Famils was delivered in the Shoalhaven. Twenty-four local customer facing tourism and hospitality workers travelled the region to experience what was on offer to promote.

First stop was the Kangaroo Valley Adventure Company and Valley Outdoors that offer adventure and outdoor experiences for the active visitors. This was followed by a sumptuous high tea experience set amongst the vines at Cambewarra Estate before heading to the Shoalhaven Zoo and Tree Tops Adventures in the picturesque surroundings on the Shoalhaven River.

The groups then travelled to Huskisson for an invigorating trip with Jervis Bay Wild and a presentation on the cultivation of the Jervis Bay Mussels. Last stop was at Indoor Climb Shoalhaven a great wet weather option for visitors to the region.

The Shoalhaven Local Knowledge Famil was the perfect opportunity for our business to network with other businesses and upskill our team. The day was perfectly organised, and the content was highly engaging and informative. The addition of the quiz made sure we paid extra attention to the information provided as well as lifted camaraderie on the bus trip. Sam and Robyn were the perfect hosts and I’d love to be involved in any future activities hosted by the South Coast School of Excellence. I would also be happy to recommend the experience for others.
  – Sonia Drover, Cupitt’s Estate

Destination Food

Lyndey Milan OAM delivered a special presentation at The Growers as part of the Autumn Celebration of Food on the value of local produce and restaurants to attract visitors and grow destination appeal. In addition to traditional foods, Lyndey talked about including indigenous produce to add local flavours to menus. An engaging discussion with the audience demonstrated that this was already being considered by local chefs and restaurateurs.
Also on a panel were, two local producers, Rosie Cupitt, Cupitt’s Estate and Terry Robinson, Old Salt Distillery, who shared culinary experiences and how they have modelled their businesses to attract visitation.
Lyndey joined the group for networking drinks at the conclusion of the formal presentation where the discussion continued.
A video on this presentation will be posted to the Destination Sydney Surrounds South website.

Bega Valley Skills Short Course

The Centre of Excellence, in collaboration with Training Service NSW, Workforce Australia – Local Jobs and the Eden Chamber of Commerce co-ordinated a fully funded four-day Skills Short Course in Eden.
The short course covered skills that were highly sought after by operators, and attracted nine locals who have gained responsible service of alcohol, food handling and barista skills.

I left the course confident that I could apply for roles as a barista or in the service of alcohol as a result of attending this course. As a semi retired person looking for different roles in workplaces (I used to work full time in IT) this course suited my aspirations to try new career paths, as well as giving the feeling of empowerment to be learning new skills. 
All in all it was a worthwhile course and has equipped me to look into other types of work at this stage in my life. I would highly recommend this course to anyone looking for introductory training in this field.

  – Christian Wilson

The Centre of Excellence will review the outcomes of this course and explore opportunities to repeat similar courses where there is a need. If your organisation would benefit from a short course and you can guarantee 12-15 participants, please contact Robyn Johnson at [email protected]

Employers Plan for Tomorrow

The Centre of Excellence presented a webinar on how you can future-proof your business by custom-training your next generation of workers.

This presentation provided an overview of what programs are currently available for industry to participate in to future-proof their business and share tips on how they can strengthen connections with future employees.

The session included three industry professionals who provided practical advice to support employers on how they can engage with schools and TAFE NSW students that can be immediately actioned. The session included a case study on how one local business has had great success in working with local schools to attract trainees that have supported it business.

To access a recording of this webinar please click here

The Centre of Excellence is carrying out a survey of the industry to invite businesses to register their interest in engaging a trainee or apprentice so that it can work with the Department of Education and the local schools to encourage local traineeships. 

To respond to this survey please click here

DSSS Visitor Economy Symposium

The Centre of Excellence hosted a session on Skills Development and Training at the recent DSSS Visitor Economy Symposium held in Kiama. This session included presentations from three local operators, Libby Cupitt, Cupitt’s Estate; Pip Davies, Mountain Ridge Wines and Greta Lewis, Jervis Bay Wild, who shared their experiences and discussed the value of the CoE programs and how it has supported their businesses.  
The session also included a panel discussion from Anna Finch, Kardia HR; Lyn Eckersley, Training Services NSW and Debbie Pakis, TAFE NSW who presented on the changes to the workforce environment and the importance of investing in your team. The panel highlighted the current opportunities available to business and how they can take advantage of the government’s funding of 300,000 training places.

Key take outs from the session were:

  1. A lot of TAFE courses are free and have a minimum of only 8 participants. If you have a requirement and you know another business has the same requirement – get on the front foot and contact TAFE and they can react to this and get the course up and running.  
  2. It’s an Employees market – be the best employer you can to attract and retain your staff.  
  3. Wellbeing is one the main considerations for careers now-a-days. This is where regional areas have the advantage over metro businesses. It isn’t all about the high pay anymore, people value being able to get to work within 5-10 mins, going to the beach before or after work – these are tools for employers trying to attract workers from metro areas can use.  
  4. Successful businesses are actively employing and investing into the staff. If you don’t invest training, education or mentoring then you will be left with no one to be able to pass / sell the business onto so it makes financial sense in the long run to invest into your staff.  
  5. There are 300,000 FULLY FUNDED Tourism and Hospitality positions available in NSW through TAFE. This may not be available ever again – everyone needs to take advantage of this!

What’s Coming Up in June & July


Tourism and Hospitality Experience (THE) Schools Day Programs

Tourism and Hospitality Experience Schools Day events are scheduled for the Shoalhaven (7 June), Eurobodalla (28 June) and Bega Valley (26 July) to inspire high school students to consider a career in tourism and hospitality.
The Centre of Excellence has developed speakers from a range of roles in the industry who will share their career highlights that in most cases have taken them around the world with the students.
This is a unique opportunity to learn about careers in the industry in a fun and interactive forum.

Other Skills Training and Education

The Future is Now
Exploring emerging careers for today’s youth. Join as they delve into trending industries and how to build a career that lasts.

  • Discover skills and knowledge needed to thrive in the jobs of tomorrow
  • Hear from young professionals who have followed their passions and carve their own path
  • Gain advice and tips from industry experts who have first hand experience in emerging careers
  • Engage directly with our speakers during our live Q&A session

The sessions will explore industries such as Renewable Energy, Technological, Travel and Tourism and more. There will also be opportunities for the audience to engage with live Q&A’s and poll questions.

Register now!

 . . .


Microskill | Learn to delivery an acknowledgement of country
Delivered online and on-demand, in as little as 2 hours, this Microskill explains the origins, meaning and protocols around an Acknowledgement of Country. It provides practical resources and tips to encourage learners to make their own connections to Country.

Enrol now to be more confident, authentic and engaging in conducting a contextualised Acknowledgement of Country. 

Enrol now

Destiny’s Cookery School
Nowra TAFE would like to advise you of a short course with Destiny’s Cookery School. An evening non assessable fun course exploring the sustainable world of meat-free cooking!
In this class, learners will be creating some delicious and nutritious meals that showcase the natural flavours and textures of vegetables, legumes, grains, and fruits.
Our teacher will guide the class through an exciting range of recipes and techniques and learners will discover a different world of culinary possibilities and taste and evaluate the products. With our experienced teacher, excellent cooking facilities, and passion for culinary excellence learners will leave feeling inspired by plant-based cuisine.

Download the course flyer for further information and to enrol.

 . . .

How to employ skilled migrants in seven steps

Have you been finding it difficult to fill positions and are considering sponsoring a skilled migrant? The NSW Government has received feedback that the way the sponsorship process is explained is difficult to follow.

To help, the Small Business Commissioner has written a simplified guide. It includes an overview of the process and answers the most commonly asked questions.

See the 7 steps now

 . . .

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: (1,3-5) Shoalhaven Local Knowledge Famil. (2) Narooma WSET course.
(6,7) Destination Food event with Lyndey Milan OAM. (8) Bega Valley Short Course.