A new partnership between the University of Tasmania, the Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania and the government will allow hospitality and tourism workers to upskill during the COVID-19 downturn.
Members of the TICT, the Australian Hotels Association and other interested Tasmanians will be able to complete a new Graduate Certificate in either Business Studies or Tourism, Environmental and Cultural Heritage.
The graduate certificate courses will be government funded meaning there will be no cost to students.
Practical skills and knowledge acquired during the courses include using digital analytics to support business marketing, how to leverage the Tasmanian brand to support businesses, courses which focus on consumer decision-making, and understanding key elements of financial reporting.
TICT chief executive Luke Martin said the financial benefit of this program would be about $10,000 per student.
"Obviously money is not necessarily something that is easily accessible at the moment so the ability to do this course at no out-of-pocket expense is a great opportunity," Mr Martin said.
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He said hundreds of employees in the tourism sector were covered by the Federal government's JobKeeper payment but they were working in businesses in hibernation because of COVID-19-related public health restrictions.
"In the midst of this crisis, we need to keep our workforce engaged as much as we can and to ensure we are in the best possible shape when restrictions are eased and we're working our way back to business as usual," Mr Martin said.
UTAS Vice-Chancellor Rufus Black said it been devastating to see the hard work and ingenuity of Tasmanian operators and their staff undercut by something which was completely beyond their control.
"We see these courses as a way of supporting Tasmania and Tasmanians to stay engaged, to build knowledge, knowing that will support the sector and its people until such a time that the impact of COVID-19 passes," Professor Black said.
Professor Black said the courses were four units which would take one semester to complete if studying full-time but part-time study was also possible.
"No cap [on numbers]. This is as many can come and we are really looking forward to a real diversity of students in the courses," he said.
Premier Peter Gutwein said this program was a fantastic initiative to equip Tasmanians with a university qualification which would stand them in good stead as they moved through their career in the hospitality industry.
Hotel Grand Chancellor Hobart business development executive Kimberley Odgers said she was excited about this opportunity, interested in the Graduate Certificate in Business Studies course.
"It's always good to have an extra degree under your belt and, given I have the time to upskill, I think it will give skills and knowledge to get ahead in my career," Ms Odgers said.
To register your interest in the courses, please contact UTAS.