For the past eight years, the Hospitality Training Trust has helped to fund individuals, businesses and charities wanting to make their mark in the hospitality industry. Some of the many recipients of Hospitality Training Trust funding to date include Hospitality NZ, Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT), DINE Academy, Onehunga High School and Soul Bar & Bistro, and this year the Trust hopes to provide funding for more people wanting a career in hospitality.

“The Trust began in 2011 to advance training in the New Zealand hospitality sector,” explains Bruce Robertson, Chair of the Hospitality Training Trust. “We used funds that had originally been taken by the government of the day as a Tavern Tax to encourage the building of tourism accommodation. We didn’t want the funds that had been dedicated to hospitality to be diluted, so we set up the Hospitality Training Trust to protect the funds as an asset for the sector.”

The Hospitality Training Trust (HTT) is vital in an industry renowned for its struggle to curate and maintain good workers; “Put simply, a lot of programmes would struggle if they didn’t have funding from HTT,” says Robertson. “From travel fees and helping people get a driving licence, through to masterclasses and events, whoever we can support in upskilling the industry, we do. It improves both the productivity and profitability of the sector.”

DINE Academy is an independent voluntary initiative dedicated to giving senior high school students, community groups, vulnerable youth and long-term unemployed job seekers a pre-employment training programme ‘bootcamp. The organisation has received annual grant funding from HTT since 2016, which Founding and General Manager Sonia Tiatia says has made a significant difference to the help and training DINE has been able to provide potential hospitality professionals needing assistance.

“We have grown because of the inclusion of partners like HTT in the programme,” says Tiatia. “I didn’t think we’d be eligible for a grant, as we are a voluntary organisation, but HTT gave us funding in 2016 to help us hold a DINE showcase dinner event in Wellington. Since then, HTT has helped us provide scholarships to people who aren’t able to get funding, to put on our DINE showcase dinner events and for our ‘Nurture’ bootcamps, which are a week of intensive practical training within a commercial workplace of a stadium or hospitality venue before ‘going live’ on a shift or event.”

Grants from the Trust can range from $500 to $20,000, and applications are being taken from now until April 5th for 2019 grants. Anyone in the industry can apply, and Robertson says they deliberately keep the parameters as loose as possible in order for everyone to have the same chance. “We want to encourage everyone who has a good idea to put it forward,” he says. “All grant applicants are viewed on their merit to see how they will benefit the hospitality industry through relevant training and education.”

For more information on previous grants and how to apply for a Hospitality Training Trust grant, visit

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