Hospitality is a great industry to be part of. The Department of Employment projections indicate an increase in hospitality jobs of 16.9% or 93,600 workers in the next two years. (Source) Restaurant and Catering Australia Treasury Report.
Danny Mikati is the CEO at Bright Employment, an ethical company established to help people find meaningful employment with opportunities to create a career. Bright’s programs are geared towards solving the hospitality industry’s challenges with finding well-trained, local employees, as well as ending the welfare cycle.
Bright Employment & Upskilled
Bright Employment has recently partnered with Upskilled to deliver the Certificate II in Hospitality. Here, we speak to Danny to find out more about the program.
Tell us about what Bright Employment does.
Danny: Bright Employment is an alternative to the normal recruitment pathways. We give our candidates full case management support through the employment and training journey. We will guide our candidates through the hospitality training pathways, the Certificate II in Hospitality and the vocational training pathways, and add some other skills to make them as employable as possible. We partner with Upskilled to get that training across, so our candidates can enter meaningful employment.
We use very, very experienced case managers in the community space to be able to address the needs of any candidate we come across.
How do you target potential candidates for these hospitality courses?
We basically open our doors to everybody, all we have done is make sure we have a very strong, intense support model, so that we are able to give people opportunities that might usually get overlooked in the community sector. So, that could be people with a disability, candidates who are Indigenous, people who are going through financial struggles, or issues to do with addiction or domestic violence.
How long has Bright Employment been operating and when did it begin?
Bright Employment has been operating since 2014, it’s gone through an interesting evolution. We’ve become niched in the hospitality industry and the latest version of Bright Employment is tailoring the candidate experience, and tailoring it to the industry needs.
How did the partnership between Bright Employment and Upskilled come about?
The founders of Bright Employment formed a working relationship with Upskilled’s Chief Executive Officer Jon Lang. They’ve worked together for some time and Upskilled has had a lot to do with the strategic direction of Bright Employment.
Why is the Certificate II in Hospitality such a terrific course to get into, particularly for young Australians?
In terms of the hospitality program that we’ve got, the Cert II is unique. We are very lucky to have a partnership with the Giants AFL (football) club, who are in with a good shot to be the premier winning side this year – they are in a fantastic facility out at Olympic Park at Homebush and Bright runs the café and kitchen at the grounds and centre.
We actually feed not just the players but all the residents that work within the actual complex. This provides our young candidates with an exciting place to work, with an amazing atmosphere around them. It’s very much a successful and inspiring atmosphere, and that’s why we’ve made it the hub for our youth-specific program with Upskilled.
So, these students are not just gaining qualifications that could lead them into a solid and profitable career but they’re also gaining on-the-job skills with this particular course?
Absolutely. It’s a live kitchen, with many catering opportunities as well. We feed the NRL Bulldogs once a week. We also feed the staff and many of the players from Netball NSW. Our students are getting exposed to people with a strong work ethic, high aspirations, and those who are at the top of their game; elite athletes. So, it’s very much an inspiring atmosphere to be in.
What makes a great hospitality worker?
I think number one, is attitude. The greatest qualification you can have, is a motivated and positive attitude to go to work with. The first thing that employers look for is the attitude of the participant. If someone is looking for a job, it’s important to envision how they’re thinking; are they excited about work, are they going to be committed to improving the business, and are they aiming to be the best version of themselves that they can be?
Some students even go on to gain real jobs in the industry, such as with your partners, The Star Entertainment Group; is that correct?
Yes, The Star partners with The Giants and they are one of the biggest names in the industry. We also work with Merivale; they are huge players in the hospitality industry. This is also a growing space for us. Day by day we are getting more placement partners, that are also very much in line with our ethical standards.
It’s what I like to call, “The Bright Tick of Approval.” We screen all our partners to ensure that they are very ethical companies, that they look after all their staff and that they are looking at reinvesting back into the local community.
What value does meaningful employment offer to students, particularly those who might be from disadvantaged backgrounds?
The absolute greatest benefit you can give anybody is purpose. This is what we have geared the whole program for and why I joined Bright myself. We aim to give Australians purpose, and once you have purpose – the sky’s the limit. That’s the motivation as to what we hold the entire program on.
What would you say to someone who is feeling discouraged about their job prospects?
I think if you are in that 17-25 age group you are very lucky, as the world is just there, full of opportunities. It’s definitely about having a look around and seeing what else is out there. Never take a closed door as a final resolution, use it as another opportunity to try for the next goal. No one that I know is still in the first job they ever got – remember that – so look at any opportunity as an entry point into a career. You learn what you can; everything is a learning experience to get to the “right job for you.”
Hospitality is one of the biggest industries in Australia and also an industry that is experiencing big growth; so, people with qualifications in hospitality really are setting themselves up for a career that can go in many directions, is that correct?
Absolutely. Any day of the week, there are thousands of jobs available in hospitality. And that’s something we really need to consider. For the next 10-15 years, that isn’t going to change. It’s just going to get bigger and if anything, there will be more opportunities.
Hotels and other venues are starting up every week and employing hundreds or even thousands of staff – so there are job prospects and room to move up the career ladder. There are so many different jobs within the hospitality space and the more qualified you are and the more experience you’ve got, it sets you apart from the rest.
How to find out more about studying hospitality with Upskilled and Bright Employment
Coming soon! Check back here for upcoming information on the Certificate II in Hospitality, that will allow you to get hands-on experience to kick-start your career in hospitality.