Hunter man offers to work for free to break into region's hospitality industry

WHEN Depak ‘Mac’ Makwana arrived in Australia, he was looking forward to marrying his fiancée and starting an exciting new chapter in his career.

After almost 30 years in hospitality including managing hotels and restaurants, he was hopeful about the future.

“I’m a professional individual and thought I wouldn’t have a problem getting a job,” he said. “I’ve been working in the US and have that culture of customer service embedded in me.”

But fast-forward two years and Mr Makwana is frustrated. He is yet to receive a single interview, even after signing up to employment agencies, responding to about 70 advertisements and delivering his CV to about 30 businesses including Wests, five hotels and along Darby Street and Beaumont Street.

Mr Makwana said he was grateful to have secured a job driving taxis one month ago, but has refused to give up on his passion. He has asked businesses to allow him to work a shift for free to prove his expertise.

“Forget about being a manager, I will take any job – a waiter, server, bartender, housekeeping, even cleaning bathrooms,” he said. “I don’t have an ego, I will do whatever it takes.”

The Herald reported in March the Hunter Research Foundation's figures for the December 2016 quarter showed almost 5000 local jobs had been created.

The rate of jobs growth in the region outstripped NSW and the unemployment rate (4.6 per cent) dipped below the NSW rate (5.1 per cent) for the first time in three years. 

Jobs growth during the upswing was strongest in services, although the HRF noted, “service sector jobs are increasingly located in capital cities’ CBDs”.

Mr Makwana said he completed a master’s in aeronautical engineering from Kingston University London and moved to California, where he looked for work as he studied to convert his UK engineering licence to a USA licence.

He got a job at Taco Bell and never returned to engineering, instead becoming a district manager and business consultant at McDonalds and then a manager at Flamingo Las Vegas.

He also opened a Mexican restaurant chain and was most recently a consultant to others establishing restaurants.