Teaching tourism skills
A national drive by the department of tourism to reduce a skills shortage in the industry has seen nearly 300 Eastern Cape graduates being trained and employed.
The province’s 44 graduates from the 2017 youth hospitality skills initiative are among 291 to be trained in the Eastern Cape and 1,867 at national level since the programme’s inception in 2011.
Of the latest group, 40 graduates have been employed as chefs and food safety quality assurers at East London’s Cecilia Makiwane Hospital.
Eastern Cape premier Phumulo Masualle visited the hospital to assess the effect of the programme on Thursday.
“This initiative is a prime example of how we can work together towards creating employment opportunities for the South African youth,” he said.
The programme was initially aimed at addressing specific skills gaps exclusively for the tourism sector.Deputy tourism minister Elizabeth Thabethe, who was also part of the visit, said of her department: “We are finalising the recruitment and training of a new cohort of graduates.”
This would be “particularly in those non-core but highly needed services like customer care and front-line service”.
Department spokesperson Blessing Manale said the students for the 2018 and 2019 food safety programmes would be trained to make pastries and African cuisine.
They would receive entrepreneurial training as well.
“Adverts about the department’s skills development programmes are published in mainstream and community print publications,” Manale said.
“Students apply and are interviewed by the appointed hotel schools to determine their suitability.”
Previous graduates of the programmes have been employed by numerous restaurants, hotels and hospitals across the province.
“Applications [for future programmes] can be submitted directly to the South African Chef Association (SACA), or [students] can visit www.tourism.gov.za for updates...