Meet Our Team: CTA Hospitality Trainer Paul McKell

With 25 years of hospitality experience under his belt, Paul will soon be celebrating his 5-year anniversary as a CTA trainer!

At heart, Paul has a passion for all things service and gaming. He thrives in people-focused settings and is dedicated to sharing his expertise with Australia’s next generation of hospitality superstars. To commemorate Paul’s 5-year anniversary with CTA Training, CTA had chance to talk to Paul about his experience as both a trainer and professional in Australia’s ever-expanding hospitality sector.

“Seeing students start, sign up, progress all the way through, and get that certificate at the end is my favouite part [of training]. I love to see them grow throughout that whole entire period, not only in a training capacity but also in a venue.”

Paul Mckell

How would you describe your current role of CTA?
I’m an all-around trainer! Everything from gaming through to management, bar, and front of house.

Tell us about your career experience before CTA – how did you get to your current position?
I have been in the industry for roughly 25 years, working in mainly RSL Cubs. I actually did CTA’s Hostplus Leadership Institute (HLI) when it was known as Club Super Leadership Institute (CSLI)! Once I finished that, I received a phone call from CTA offering me a position. By that time, I had 15 years under my belt at my previous job.

What excites you most about the hospitality industry?
For me, it’s the people that you meet, the staff that you work with, and the venues that you’re in. It’s something different every day and it always keeps you on your toes!

What is the best thing about your job at CTA?
I would have to say completions. Seeing students start, sign up, progress all the way through, and get that certificate at the end is my favouite part. I love to see them grow throughout that whole entire period, not only in a training capacity but also in a venue.

What is your favourite weird food combination?
Oohhh! Lettuce and Vegemite sandwiches. A good friend of mine got me onto that back in my Greenbank days, so we are going back 15 years ago now. She used to bring it in all the time. I was like “ew yuck” until I tried it! It’s actually quite nice.

Do you have a favourite sector you’ve worked in?
Gaming is my favourite That’s where my heart lies, I just love everything about it! I enjoy analysing the machines, watching them perform and, (as much as I don’t like to say) seeing the money roll in! It is everything to do with the machines – the legislation, the compliance, the patronage, and so on.

Can you tell me more about the Hostplus Leadership Institute (HLI) and your role in it?
I took on the roll of head trainer for the Institute in about September last year. Overall, the Hostplus Leadership Institute (HLI) is designed to identify emerging leaders in the Hospitality Industry and give them the opportunity to complete a specialised learning program. Students gain a Diploma of Leadership and Management, whilst being immersed in the workings of the industry.

Do you have a favourite part of the program?
The club tours! Unfortunately, this year’s group hasn’t had many tours due to COVID, but we are trying to change that at the moment. We are a lot more flexible and venues are open now. It’s getting them out there to see what the industry has to offer. A lot of these students haven’t been to many venues. They don’t know what’s out there. That’s where we play a massive part in opening their eyes, allowing them to see all what the hospitality industry is all about!

What is your motto or a piece of advice that you live by?
It would be along the lines of: Just do it! Get out there and just do it!

Now for our final question – How has the industry changed and how do you see it changing in the future?
The only real big change I’ve seen since coming out of venues was COVID. Yes, we are bouncing back now but, as an industry, we still must adapt to a lot of changes that are going to be in place for a long time.

Future-wise, I do see venues becoming more interactive, especially with gaming. I also see venues looking at other services such as putting in accommodation, external cafes, and other different avenues.

Thank you for telling us more about yourself Paul, it has been a pleasure!

Paul has played an enormous role in the success of CTA’s students. To learn more about the courses Paul and the CTA Team deliver, visit our website