Helping clubs recover with SPARK

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Few businesses were hit harder during COVID lockdowns than our hospitality and club industry.

Even one year on from Canberra’s August 2021 lockdown, many local clubs are still reeling from staff shortages and struggling to keep up with demand.

A new program is addressing this issue in an innovative way, by providing ACT jobseekers with the entry level skills required to apply for jobs in the licenced club industry.

Run by SPARK Ginninderry in partnership with Canberra Institute of Technology and ClubsACT, the JobTrainer ClubsACT Hospitality Program focuses on skills development, work experience and employment within the licenced club industry.

Commencing Tuesday 18 October, the four-week accredited program will run four days a week and is a combination of theory, practical learning and work placement.

Skills covered include service to customers, hygiene practices for food safety, learning how to operate a bar and serve alcohol responsibly, and processing financial transactions. The program is free with twenty places available, however eligibility criteria applies.


Graduates from the previous JobTrainer ClubsACT Hospitality Program


As the program partner, ClubsACT will provide work experience placements and real employment pathways for participants who meet the criteria.

Clubs ACT CEO Craig Shannon says the program’s first course earlier in the year was “incredibly successful,” with many placements at Clubs ACT venues.

“We could not be more impressed with the relationship that we’ve developed with SPARK Ginninderry and the quality of employees that have resulted,” Craig says.

“The staff of SPARK are so committed to what they’re doing and to the individuals they’re training, and what they’re producing is incredible job-ready employees in our industry.”

Ginninderry’s Training and Employment Manager, Mel Lyons, works one-on-one with the participants involved in the program. She says out of the twenty people who participated in the last program, sixteen found employment, with one participant even getting a job in the first week of the program.

“We’ve found our participants are much more confident going into a job because they’re getting  hands on experience throughout the program – for example working at the simulated café at CIT – and having  work experience and contact with ClubsACT staff and members,” Mel says.

“By the time they go for their interview at the end of the program, they are seeing all these familiar faces which reduces anxiety.”

Another aspect of SPARK is to help reduce any barriers participants may face. This includes ensuring they are given appropriate uniform and PPE, right down to providing fuel vouchers and bus tickets for transport.

“We take into account their location and provide suitable work placements close to home,” Mel says.

“We also  work with the clubs to provide participants with experience in their area of interest, , for example some people might prefer barista training so we’ll set them up working the café, while others might enjoy working at the bar.”

As clubs are often the heart of our community, Craig says it’s an “extremely rewarding” career choice.

“We’re trying to re-emphasise to job seekers that our industry is a career opportunity and one that can take you around the world. You can have a whole of life career in hospitality,” Craig says.

“It’s also an extremely flexible profession, you can do it on a casual basis while studying or choose to go permanent or full-time. It’s just a great sense of community spirit to it.”


Information session

 An information session will be held on 22 September at 11am – 12.30pm at CIT restaurant, Reid. The session is mandatory for those interested in the program. To book a place and check your eligibility, please contact Shayla at Ginninderry on 1800 316 900 or

Find out more

This program was made possible through JobTrainer and is a jointly funded initiative of the ACT and Australian Governments. Eligibility criteria applies.

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