As the brewing industry looks more closely at how it can attract talent, Sauce Brewing Co. has launched a traineeship for new brewers.
Traineeships have long been the province of major breweries, such as the Asahi Beverages graduate training initiatives, and are often considered out of reach of smaller brewers with limited resources to fund or time to teach new brewers.
Now, Sydney-based Sauce has launched a part-time brewing traineeship that will combine on-the-job experience with the official Food Processing Cert III (Micro-brewery) course at Ultimo TAFE.
Sauce founder Mike Clarke said that he hoped the traineeship would be a way to bring in and retain talent to the business and industry as a whole.
“Our industry has been suffering a shortage of qualified people for some time – the number and scale of craft breweries has grown rapidly, but the number of qualified brewers has lagged behind.
“[At Sauce] we’re at a point now where we’re growing, and we’ve got enough experienced brewers to fill the roster, just. What we need is an extra pair of hands to help out on the bigger days, but someone who we can also nurture and mould into a fully-fledged brewer.
“The TAFE course is an excellent complement to what we can offer them, as it provides the foundational and theoretical knowledge required to make great beer – filling the gap between bookwork and “learning by doing”.
“There is some classroom-based learning, the TAFE has a small brewery on site for practical demonstrations, and then there is the “work placement” component that would be fulfilled by us, in addition to their regular work days.”
Clarke highlighted the pressures placed on brewing teams in smaller businesses, and also the difficulties of bringing on people new to the industry.
“As a smallish brewery with a small team, in the past anyone we’ve needed in our team has had to be someone experienced enough to be able to brew on their own. The brewers have become multitaskers too, doing the simple stuff as well as the complex stuff.
“So, while we would get enquiries every week from people who really wanted to get a start in a brewery, even offering to work for free just to get experience, we didn’t really feel we could offer them the best learning experience.
“Sure, free labour is great, but you’re just asking them to do the shit jobs, you don’t really have a proper job to offer them, and it never felt right.”
A major focus of the IBA has been on supporting education and upskilling opportunities for new and existing members of the brewing industry and to make it an “employer of choice”.
In NSW, its focus on education helped it to the top spot of the States of Brewing report earlier this year, and the TAFE course which Sauce is integrating its programme with was developed by Young Henry’s co-founder and IBA chair Richard Adamson, along with a host of other stakeholders.
To support Sauce in funding the apprenticeship, it was eligible for a government programme, the Boosting Apprenticeships Commencement which provides wage subsidies for eligible Australian businesses.
“The TAFE course is eligible for the “Boosting Apprenticeships” program supported by the federal and state governments, which in essence covers the cost of the course for new trainees, as well as providing some rebates back to the employer,” explained Clarke.
“It’s a program designed to incentivise businesses to take on new trainees – gotta keep that unemployment rate down!
“It’s great for the trainee too – the TAFE course is oversubscribed and not cheap – this way they get a guaranteed placement, and not only does it not cost them a cent, they actually get paid to do it, and they’ve already got their first job sorted.
“Without that program, we would have struggled to justify the expense of training someone up, versus just employing someone with experience, so I guess you could say the program works.”
Hear more about how to attract and retain a brewer, and what brewers are looking for with Ryan Fullerton of Catchment Brewing Co. and Nick Leach of Brewstaff on the BreweryPro Podcast.