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Accommodation Association’s Gappa Program a game changer for JobSeekers and Sector

The very first placement as part of the Accommodation Association’s game-changing gap year experience The Gappa Program is already proving a winner for everyone involved.
The peak industry body created Gappa to help solve the massive skills and workforce shortage the sector faces. It matches job seekers and properties to provide 10 months of invaluable real world paid experience with a couple of additional bonuses:

  • $50 per week allowance for relocating interstate
  • $500 completion bonus at the end of the 10 month contract
  • The Gappa Weekend experience for the person doing Gappa plus three friends at the property

Tasmanian Lily Harrington wanted a Guest Services role but COVID was making it difficult. A chance encounter with one of the Accommodation Association team at a recent virtual job fair changed that forever.
“I didn’t know what Gappa was when I first heard about it, so I Googled it,” she said.  “And I liked what I saw.  I’d just completed a Certificate III in Tourism through TAFE, surrounded by people who loved Tassie, people who weren’t from here but were passionate about tourism, and I knew I wanted to stay in hospitality. So, I took a chance and applied.”

Vibe Hotel Hobart, according to Lily, had made quite an impression as the host venue during a Tourism Tasmania conference, so the 142-room hotel was at the top of her hit list.

“And here I am six hours into my first shift on reception at Vibe Hobart and I’m really liking it,” she said.
So much so that the Gappa weekend experience for her and her mates and the cash completion bonus at the end of her contract is just the icing on the cake.
Angela Binns, General Manager, Vibe Hotel Hobart
“As we celebrated our first birthday, I had been looking to grow our team and had been interviewing for a variety of roles in F&B and on reception at our new Vibe Hotel Hobart. Essentially, I was looking for people who were willing to grow their skills and work across both departments.  When I spoke to Lily, she was genuine, warm, and welcoming and we had great conversation. I look an instant liking to her and with her prior F&B experience, I knew she was exactly what I was looking for.”

A job in hospitality really can take you anywhere in the world and with around 80 hotels in their portfolio spanning Australia, New Zealand, Austria, Germany, Copenhagen and soon-to-be Switzerland, it’s a very real prospect at TFE Hotels. It’s one of the reasons that Lily applied for a job with Vibe Hobart and something that has her even more excited on her first day.

“This job feels like it can open a lot of doors,” says Lily.  “I love Tasmania but, having lived and studied in Japan, I also love the idea that I could move somewhere on the mainland or even internationally with TFE.”
TFE’s Director of People and Capability, Kim Garner, says that the hotel group proved during their Covid response that TFE was more than just four walls and a place to sleep.
“When the world changed, we found a way forward by finding more kindness, wellbeing, connection, collaboration and innovation. And even though we can’t be certain about what the future holds, we can say that every role inside our Group now comes with more reasons to join – and stay – than ever before including the chance to transfer and work at some of the group’s international hotels. We’re very much looking forward to watching Lily grow with us.”

Chris Sedgwick, Group Chief Operating Officer at TFE Hotels and Accommodation Association National Board Member
“Gappa is a great initiative and a great way for people to experience our awesome industry in action,” he said. “Well done to the Association team on the launch.”
Cassandra Champion, Chief Operating Officer, Accommodation Association
“We’ve only just launched Gappa and we already have more than 100 locations available right across Australia and that’s growing every day. It’s a unique way to focus on the fun and experience of working at all levels of a hotel while not only getting paid to build real skills and networks but also rewarded and supported throughout. We really want people to look on hospitality as a career but Gappa gives you transferable lifelong skills regardless of where you end up. So you’re getting life skills like time management, interpersonal skills and confidence that you can take anywhere with you and you’re getting professional skills across all parts of a hotel’s operations which helps select where you might want to focus if you choose hospitality as a career.”
“Gappa is just one of a number of innovations and partnerships we offer to meet the needs of our members and those looking for work. Hospitality is a world of employment opportunities in its own right from technology and maintenance through to sales, office management and more. Gappa is a way to get paid while having fun and working out what you want to do. Lily’s loving her engagement with our sector already and we’re excited to keep matching curious and passionate job seekers with member properties, It really is a win win for everyone.”
The Accommodation Association’s employment pathways initiatives (accessible at

  1. The Gappa –this is a gap year paid experience with additional bonuses and benefits for anyone that wants to work anywhere in the country for a year.
  2. The Hub –a one-stop transformational Hospitality portal to for employers, job seekers, consultants with streamlined processes, forms and tools for anyone to use so that the matching of individuals to job and career opportunities is even faster and easier. It will also provide a unified job Board for the sector.
  3. Train2Earn – our hugely successful direct training program which provides a short, intensive 3-day immersion training with a job interview at the end. This is already tracking at a 94% employment outcome.
  4. Our PaTH Business Placement Partnerships programs which provide all jobseekers who complete training with a guaranteed 4 week live and practical internship in metro and regional venues nationally. These programs have an 80% employment success rate and provide the core basic skills to start a career in the sector. As part of this and in line with the sector’s commitment to creating an inclusive workforce, there are also dedicated DES programs to run in a hotel environment with a supported PaTH internship and employment support package.
  5. The Training Panel of Accommodation Association-approved RTO’s to help members with any training enquiries they might have. The Association has done the due diligence in checking each RTO’s training materials, trainers and overall performance and also facilitates the introduction.


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