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So you’re straight off the boat, landed in this foreign paradise, well it’s been a long journey and you’re gasping for a beer. Straight to the bar for a quick “schooner” of Fosters!? No, to mine and everyone else’s surprise Australians don’t actually drink fosters AT ALL!! More likely to be “Carlton Mid” or “Tooheys”. Anyways back to the point, the odds are, having ordered a beer, you’ve probably been met with at least a $15 price tag!!!! WHAT!! $15 for a single beer!?!? yes you don’t need to read it again, that is the damage. The next thing you’re likely to think is “I need to get me a job in here”, this place must be a gold mine. There would be some truth in thinking that, although same as any job out there, there’s always a fat cat lining their pockets and us “shit munchers” scrabbling for the scraps. Saying that I’ve met numerous bar staff in Perth that were being paid $27+ per hour for an entry level position and then there’s the tips…. Get your best smile out and be the best that you can be, you’ll go far my friend!
Before you can get yourself on the other side of the gold-plated bar there’s one hurdle that must be overcome first… The Responsible Service of Alcohol certification or more commonly known as the RSA card. Luckily for us it’s an easy job to sort out and not too expensive either…. Let’s have a look.
What is the RSA qualification?
The Resposible Service of Alcohol qualification is aimed at training anyone who may be serving or supplying alcohol to the public. The training itself is centered around the laws regarding the sale and supply of alcohol, training bar staff on how to determine if a customer is under-age or too intoxicated to be served anymore alcohol. It also outlines how to spot if there may be potential of drink-driving and what to do if you suspect someone is intoxicated and plans to drive.
Unfortunately, as the laws around the sale of alcohol change from state to state you cannot just gain one certificate and travel round Australia with it working in bars to fund things. Each state has its own certification scheme which you must pass to work in its bars.
What jobs require a RSA qualification?
In a nutshell any job that has the potential for the employee to be serving alcohol to anyone. Mainly in the hospitality sector e.g. Hotels, hostels, roadhouses, bars, nightclubs and restaurants.
If you find a job opening that requires serving alcohol and you’d like to apply for it but do not have your RSA, don’t worry you can still be offered and take the job as thankfully the Australian government has a 30-day grace period where you can work without one. After 30 days however, it’s a different story. After the grace period expires the Australian government takes it very seriously and can hand out some harsh fines, so don’t serve alcohol without one.
How do I get one?
Getting a RSA certificate/card in most states couldn’t be easier just google for training providers, sign up, pay and you could have your RSA passed the same day and have your certificate within a few working days. Let’s have a look at how, where and how much:
- New South Wales; Online training (4-6 hours) – interim certificate given for instant eligibility to work – roughly $100 (including $70 for photo id card) – valid for 5 years
- Queensland; Online training (4-6 hours) – National Statement of Attainment sent by email ONLY – roughly $20 – valid for 3 years
- Tasmania; Online training (4-6 hours) – National Statement of Attainment sent by email ONLY – roughly $40 – no expiration
- South Australia; Online training (4-6 hours) – National Statement of Attainment sent by email ONLY – roughly $20 – valid for 3 years
- Western Australia; Online training (4-6 hours) – National Statement of Attainment sent by email ONLY – roughly $20 – valid for 3 years
- Northern Territory; Online training (4-6 hours) – National Statement of Attainment sent by email ONLY – roughly $20 – valid for 3 years
- Victoria; Classroom training (4 hours booked prior to arrival) – Certificate sent by post within 2 working days – roughly $55 – online refresher every 3 years
Is it worth getting?
The answer to this question lies with you yourself. Are you coming to Australia to work? Work in the cities? Work on campsites or roadhouses? Have you got experience in hospitality? Know which state you will be looking for work?
If you answer yes to a few of these questions, then yes I probably would. Hospitality for many backpackers is the sector in which they wish to work and fund their travels around Australia. Its quite easy to obtain and can pay a good hourly rate, with plenty of hours. The tips that you’ll earn working in a bar can easily push you over the $35 per hour mark, well if you always wear your smile, are confident and have some good banter.
The only draw back is that you can gain your responsible service of alcohol certification in one state and then leave a couple of months later and have to do a new one in that state. Bit of a ballbag but it opens up many doors into well-paid, reliable work and in most states it costs less than one hours pay once you have it and you’re working in a bar.