Written by Andrew Carswell
IT will be unabashed luxury, a creative masterpiece, a centrepiece for Australia’s biggest urban development – and it will all be staffed with eager workers from western Sydney.
Billionaire gaming mogul James Packer will build a $10 million college in Penrith to train 1250 staff to work in what he claims will be one of the world’s greatest hotels – his $1 billion six-star Crown Sydney Hotel Resort at Barangaroo. The Crown chairman yesterday signed a deal with the Penrith’s Panthers club that will see the state-of-the-art training facility built within the club’s proposed community centre.
Mirrored on the company’s successful in-house Crown College in Melbourne, which has trained 4300 apprentices in the past 10 years, the Penrith centre will feature a school of business, a hotel and food academy built around a large-scale replica restaurant, and a fully equipped gaming hall.
Under the terms of the memorandum of understanding, Panthers NRL stars will be hired as mentors for for the trainees and, in turn, gain a career pathway after football. Crown will also push into local Penrith schools and create avenues for students to complete school-based traineeships and apprenticeships. Panthers staff also will be given the opportunity to be trained in the college and seconded to work at Barangaroo when required.
For Mr Packer, as with the extensive footprint of his proposed casino resort on Sydney Harbour, location was imperative.
He personally wanted to offer an opportunity to western Sydney, where high-class training avenues are seldom found and luxury-focused hospitality jobs are even rarer, and where his passion for giving the indigenous community the tools for success can be utilised.
“Crown Sydney, if it is approved, will employ 1250 people; this announcement today gets those jobs to where they are needed most – Sydney’s west,” he said.
“This partnership will mean real training and real jobs. It’s not about certificates that go nowhere, it’s about getting people into long-term and secure employment.”
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