When it comes to working in hospitality, events, or any licensed premise, attaining a Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) Competency Card is an absolute necessity. In fact, legally you can't work in Australia without one. Here’s all you need to know about a obtaining a NSW Competency Card.
The RSA Competency Card is compulsory for any employee that is employed in ANY position in a licensed premise selling alcohol. This includes working holiday visa holders who want to work in the hospitality industry during their vacation. This also means that you need to have an RSA before you attend your first trial shift. In order to attain a NSW RSA Competency Card you must undergo a brief training course in person or online, where you will learn the current laws and facts surrounding alcohol consumption, to ensure you are responsibly and legally able to serve.
The laws surrounding the responsible service of alcohol differ between each state, and as a result you will need to undertake a separate course for each state you wish to work in. Below we have listed the process behind obtaining a competency card in New South Wales.
When you complete an RSA course, regardless of whether this is done online or in person, you'll receive a temporary RSA certificate, known as an Interim Certificate. The purpose of which is to allow you to start work while you wait for your card to be ready. While this certificate will allow you to commence work, it's important to remember that it’s only valid for 90 days. An expiry date will be clearly listed on page one of the certificate, and prior to this date you will need to arrange a competency card for yourself.
A WORD OF CAUTION: A competency card can take up to 3 weeks to be received, and you will not legally be able to work if your interim certificate is expired and your card is yet to arrive. Our advice? Apply for your card straight away to allow as much time as possible!
A competency card is similar to a driver licence or NSW photo card and has a record of training you've undertaken to be legally allowed to work in the liquor, hospitality or tourism and gaming industries. To apply for a card, you must visit Service NSW with your interim certificate and 100 points of identification.
For more information, visit the Service NSW site here.
Remember to check the expiry date on your card, as an expired RSA is completely void. If you discover your paper certificate is out of date, you will need to take a refresher course to ensure your knowledge and skills are up to industry standard. Don’t forget - you could be fined if you don't have an RSA or hold an expired card.
What happens if you don’t have an RSA?
Regardless of whether you are a staff member, licensee or an employer - if you work without a valid RSA you will be fined. Employees are personally liable, and will be fined up to $550 if found to be working without a competency card or interim certificate. Our best piece of advice? Get your RSA and carry your valid card on you everywhere you go!
The RSA Competency Card is just one of the technical aspects candidates must possess to join our hospitality employment network. You must also show the right attitude to work in the industry, as well as the necessary soft skills to do so professionally.
Please note: Responsible Service of Alcohol certificates are separated by state. Therefore, each state has their own set of rules for obtaining an RSA and nationwide RSAs are not valid. If other states within Australia offer an additional fee to obtain the NSW RSA as an add-on to a different state's, this is also not valid. It's ultimately your choice where you obtain your RSA from, but so we recommend referring to this website for all the information before you make your decision to ensure your NSW RSA is valid and you'll be ready to work.
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