THE state government is set to spend $6 million to provide 240 jobseekers with hospitality and tourism traineeships in regional Victoria, including in Gippsland.

The program, the government said, would help address workforce shortages across the state.

Trainees will receive 12 months of secure employment, undertaking placements across regional businesses, while completing a Certificate III in Hospitality or Tourism.

To attract staff, trainees will be paid a wage supplement up to $10,000 above the relevant industry award over the 12-month period.

They will also receive one-on-one mentoring in the lead up to the traineeship and while on the job.

Roles will be prioritised for women over 45, people under 25, Aboriginal Victorians and people who are long-term unemployed.

The program will roll out across regional Victoria with a focus on the hospitality and tourism centres of the South Coast, Geelong, Colac, Ballarat, Bendigo, Echuca, Mildura and Gippsland between now and mid-2023.

“We work closely with these sectors and know this is their most pressing challenge – that’s why we are taking these practical steps to ensure they are supported to succeed,” Minister for Employment Jaala Pulford said.

Minister for Higher Education Gayle Tierney conceded hospitality staff were in “short supply” but said it was a “wonderful career choice”.

“That’s why we’re backing more people with the skills they need to work in industries Victoria is famous for.”

The program is supported by the $250 million Jobs Victoria Fund, which the government says is creating 10,000 steady and secure jobs for those most impacted by the pandemic.

People looking for work can register for the Jobs Victoria Online Hub and explore a range of other free employment support services on offer by visiting jobs.vic.gov.au.