Bundaberg Rum’s $11.5 million hospitality recovery fund Raising the Bar is supporting the upskilling of Queensland’s hospitality industry thanks to a partnership with the Queensland Hotels Association.

Under the agreement, Raising the Bar will support 300 hotel and bar workers across the state obtain their Responsible Management of Licensed Venue’s certificate.

The initiative is designed to address staff shortages in the hospitality industry, a challenge that has been exacerbated since the onset of COVID-19.

Over the last three months, 75 Queensland hotel and bar workers have completed the training.

Angus McPherson, managing director of Bundaberg Rum’s parent company Diageo Australia, said Raising the Bar was all about supporting the hospitality industry through a difficult period.

“Where venues have been allowed to open, we know one of the biggest challenges the on-premise industry has experienced since COVID-19, is attracting and retaining staff, and that’s why we’re helping to support the delivery of this training,” Mr McPherson said.

“Raising the Bar is an $11.5 million investment in getting Australia’s hospitality sector back on its feet after COVID-19.”

QHA Training Manager Ross Tims said the industry was grateful for the support, and the QHA has already had hotels from across the state inquiring about the program.

“QHA hotel members are appreciative of Diageo Australia’s gesture of Raising the Bar and giving us a helping hand after a trying year or so.”

“COVID-19 lockdowns and restricted practices obviously impacted the industry a great deal over that period of time and we’re not out of the woods just yet,” he said.

“Interestingly, we are going through a stretch where it’s been difficult to find staff so the opportunity for venues to upskill their ‘managers of the future’ is timely.”

Tully-based hospitality worker Olenka Muzic, is one of the 75 who has completed the training.

"I've been wanting to do this sort of training for quite some time but the budget has never allowed it. I would like to purchase my own hotel some day, and this will be something I'd need to have done for that," Ms Music said.

"I began my career back in a restaurant and I'm currently working as a bar attendant. I love the hospitality industry but there's an extreme shortage of staff and finding quality staff that are appropriately trained and have the right get up and drive can be really hard," she said.