Shortage of chefs a burning issue...
Skills shortage for chefs burning issue for Gold Coast restaurants and cafes
YOUNG people on the Gold Coast are being urged to cook up a new career amid a critical shortage of chefs.
The lack of skilled chefs is a burning issue for a city gaining a reputation as a foodie hub.
Careers Australia Industry Development manager Casey Pippin said the city’s restaurants are crying out to employ young staff, despite a youth unemployment rate of 12 per cent.
There are now more than 60 vacant positions for trainee and apprentice chefs on the Coast.
Mr Pippin said the skills crisis is set to surge as employers prepare for the peak summer and Christmas season.
“We know of so many restaurants and cafes on the Coast that are advertising for positions but can’t find anyone to fill them,” Mr Pippen said.
“They range from front-of-house to executive chef positions.”
Mr Pippen, who started his career in the food and beverage department at Movie World, said many young people perceive a career in the kitchen as involving unsocial hours and low pay.
“But the industry is rapidly changing, especially on the Gold Coast,” he said.
“The rise of a thriving daytime cafe culture is seeing many cafes become a la carte and working hours are becoming more social, with fewer split shifts and earlier finishing times.
“Like any job, salaries start low but the opportunities as a chef are huge — you can travel the world.”
He urged young Gold Coasters to enrol in a commercial cookery course.
Matt Burke bought the Raw Energy cafe in Coolangatta, expanded to a second outlet at Burleigh Heads and would love to expand his food business, if he can count on reliable restaurant staff.
After his work in the maritime industry as a navigational officer aboard ships dried up, at 27 he chose a career in the hospitality industry.
“The opportunities in this industry are endless but when I started out it was a real struggle to find chefs on the Gold Coast and I’m always on the hunt for good staff,” he said.
Mr Burke has recruited nine school-leavers to his business through Careers Australia to a job, he says, opens them to the world.
“There are around 30 cafes in a small block in Burleigh alone and we’re all competing for good chefs,” he said.
“We’ve worked closely with local schools to sell the industry which has helped us reap the rewards by hiring a lot of great, talented young people.
“My head manager started as a trainee and is now virtually running both cafe sites.
“There is a high demand for people with experience. New restaurants and cafes are constantly opening on the Coast and there is such creativity with food. This is a career where you can travel and have a great life.”