Training program to prepare Gascoyne towns for eclipse and beyond

Jamie ThannooGeraldton Guardian
Anne Roessler with staff at Whalers Restaurant.
Camera IconAnne Roessler with staff at Whalers Restaurant. Credit: Supplied

It is hoped a series of training courses held over the next two weeks in Exmouth and Carnarvon will prepare the hospitality industry for the unprecedented wave of visitors coming to the region for the solar eclipse, and leave a legacy once the eclipse is over.

The Workforce Development Program, a collaboration between State and local government groups, is hosting events in Carnarvon and Exmouth with courses on areas such as providing first aid, serving alcohol and bartending, coffee-making, tour guiding and approved manager certification.

Exmouth business owner Anne Roessler is expecting a very busy trading period with the eclipse and skilled staff will be needed more than ever.

“Hopefully, we’ll be seeing a lot of visitors, a lot of business, so this is a great opportunity to upskill our staff,” she said.

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“They (Tourism WA) asked us ‘what do you need?’ and we told them more training was a big one.”

Ms Roessler, who owns The Social Society Exmouth and Whalers Restaurant, said it was difficult to find staff with training, such as bartenders and baristas, because of the difficulty accessing courses in the region.

“Getting barista training, for instance, you normally have to go to Perth. First aid is here but its very expensive and not always accessible,” she said.

Romina Martinoya, who moved from Argentina to Exmouth and works for Ms Roessler, said upskilling with the courses meant she could have work that would let her stay in the town longer.

“I want to stay here for the long term, so I really want to build these skills,”

“It’s impossible to get these courses normally, so I do want to get them now.”

Ms Roessler said the Workforce Development Program courses would mean she has skilled staff long after the eclipse is over, which will be crucial as the number of tourists continues to grow.

“It definitely will have a long-term benefit to us,” she said.

Natasha Richards, program manager at the Carnarvon Chamber of Commerce, said giving local businesses a training boost would put the town in a strong position for the eclipse and help Carnarvon leave its best impression on visitors

“The training will ensure our local businesses are well equipped to handle the influx of visitors and by taking advantage of the hospitality training on offer, will be better positioned to provide visitors exceptional service to showcase all that Carnarvon has to offer and encourage visitors to come back and visit again in the future,” she said.

Those interested can sign up for courses in Exmouth and Carnarvon at eventbrite.com/cc/exmouth-workforce-development-program-619179 and eventbrite.com/cc/carnarvon-workforce-development-program-1742299.

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