Unemployment rates continue to be a critical concern across South Africa. Youths comprise the majority of the unemployed and many lack marketable skills and experience to enter the job market and find meaningful employment. The demographic worst affected is young rural African women.
The SA College for Tourism since its inception in 2001 has facilitated nationally accredited hospitality and life skills training for unskilled, unemployed, young African women aged between 18-35 years annually. On completion of the course, graduates are placed in paid internships/employment in small accommodation establishments and guest lodges linked to eco-tourism.
Seventy two young South African women arrived in Graaff-Reinet, South Africa between 16 and 18 January 2015 to commence their hospitality service training at the SA College for Tourism. They were joined in the two weeks following by fourteen students from Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Orientation Week commenced on 19 January and formal training for the 86 members of the hospitality training Class of 2015 commenced on 2 February.
On 3 March students performed practical duty at the local Police Academy working as ushers and waiters for a formal dinner function attended by senior government officials and politicians. Two days later the Learner Committee was elected. On 28 March the students assisted in preparing a three course buffet meal which they served to 70 wedding guests. A very busy start to the year!
We are happy to announce that sixty five of the 89 young women who graduated in November 2014 have been successfully deployed in the hospitality industry with a further 19 taking up internships with South African National Parks Board in April. Thus making the deployment rate to date more than 95%! An incredible achievement.
The SA College for Tourism thanks all its donors for their magnificent support, without which none of the College’s achievements would be possible.
Over the weekend of 17th January 2014, 76 six young women from 8 of the provinces of South Africa joined 16 recruits from other member states of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) at the Graaff-Reinet campus of SA College for Tourism (SACT) for hospitality service training. Among the foreign students were nationals of Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe while the South Africans came to the College from the Eastern, Northern and Western Cape, Free State, KwaZulu Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West.
The 2014 training year culminated on 28th November with 89 of the young women graduating at SACT. A highlight of the year included an agreement reached with the Drostdy, a newly opened 5 star boutique hotel in Graaff-Reinet, to accept a minimum 35 graduates of the College in learnership each year which will bring the deployment rate of graduates close to the 100% mark, a remarkable feat for any training institution. Other highlights included a new training program on a higher qualification level added to the training scope of the College which increased the number of women in training by the College to 120 per annum, a new trainer and training support members appointed to meet the demands of the new programme and yet another flawless outcome to an audit conducted of the College and its work by the education and training authorities of South Africa.
We thank all our donors for supporting capacity building through skills development and channeling opportunities for industry related experience and employment to these women. Your support has empowered them to lead active, productive and successful lives, counteract inequality and positively impact the lives of generations to come.
Inspiring life after college
The South African College of Tourism was recently visited by the South African Deputy Minister of Tourism, Ms Tokozile Xasa, to spread the message of equality of women and inspire our graduates in training. In the wake of South Africa signing up for the UN International Woman’s Day Commemoration, this year entitled, Equality for Woman is Progress for All: Inspiring Change, Ms Xasa spoke to this theme, as it is the focus of the College's training programme.
Deputy-Minister Xasa encouraged the students to make the most of the wonderful opportunity afforded to them by the College. Like Dr Anton Rupert, who founded the College, she firmly believes in the famous words: educate a woman and you educate a nation.
The Deputy Minister of Tourism - as the sixth of seven siblings who was raised by a single mother, and then from the age of 10 by family members when her mother passed away - said that the education the students were receiving would serve as a very powerful weapon in their quest to escape deprived backgrounds.
Her advice to the students was to not think of themselves as just waitresses or chefs, but as entrepreneurs in the making.
The inspirational story of one of the 2012 graduates, Bwalya, as enthusiastically shared by her, clearly mirrors this sentiment:
“Since leaving the college in 2012 with not just my certificate but also an award in front office, life has been amazing as each year progresses.
In February 2013, I started to work for a tour operator firm till May when I applied for an unpaid internship in the front office department at Intercontinental Hotel Lusaka - a 5 star hotel where I worked to the best of my abilities. I gave it a 101 % effort.
Upon completion, I stayed home for a month before being called back to the hotel for a job interview for the club lounge (VIP lounge) attendant position, of which I was successful. I worked directly under the front office manager for an exact period of one year. With all the skills I learnt from the college, I managed to work well in my job. Mrs. Willemse taught me well to be courteous and Mr Knoetze taught me excellent food and beverage services. I set up for breakfast week after week on my own and handled the bar on my own too. Chef Albert’s lessons came in handy when the chef was too busy; I was able to help out with the omelets J with ease. And of course Mr. van der Westhuizen taught me to work in a clean environment.
Moving on, June 2014 brought even greater things for me. I am currently working for Zambia’s largest electricity company, ZESCO, as a national call center agent under customer services.
Thank you so much SACT for the great professional skills I learnt from you. I am forever grateful for the opportunity you gave me to study with you. I hope that maybe one day, the college will offer degree programs. GOD BLESS YOU”.
With hard work, determination and the empowering training offered at the SA College of Tourism, graduates like Bwalya have the best chance of creating a sustainable future. Thank you to all the friends and supporters of the college who make this mission possible.
SA College for Tourism students’ impress wool farmers from across the globe!
In April 2014, Merino South Africa hosted some 120 Merino wool farmers from Argentine, Australia, Hungary, New Zealand, UK and USA. As part of their tour in South Africa, the visitors spent three days in Graaff-Reinet. Thanks to one of the College's major donors, the SA College for Tourism was included as one of the Graaff-Reinet highlights of the visit. On their first evening, following an organ recital in the Grootte Kerk, a National Monument and Graaff-Reinet landmark, the College hosted a cocktail party for the tour group at the Libertas Club, another landmark of Graaff-Reinet. The tour group also visited the Rubidge farm to view the Karoo fossils and afterwards enjoyed a picnic luncheon prepared and served by the students. Despite only starting their training in January this year, the students excelled.
On their final evening, the visiting group was served a four course dinner by the students at the College. During the dinner they were informed about the College’s activities, with one of the students sharing her story of the College as “a beacon of hope to so many young women like her”. This brought the guests to their feet with many a tear being wiped away.
“Wow! What a day. This evening at the SA College for Tourism was world class. What a testimony. The young lass spoke for 10 minutes from her heart with no notes and had the audience spell bound and extremely moved. Food and service was superb.” - Julian Southey, President of Merino SA.
South African Deputy-Minister of Tourism, Ms Tokozile Xasa, visits SA College for Tourism
The South African Deputy-Minister of Tourism, Ms Tokozile Xasa, visited the SA College for Tourism on Friday, 7 March. In the wake of South Africa signing up for the UN International Woman’s Day Commemoration, this year entitled, Equality for Woman is Progress for All: Inspiring Change, Ms Xasa spoke to this theme, as it is the focus of the College's training programme.
The Deputy-Chairperson of the Student Committee, speaking on behalf of the students, explained that the Class of 2014 come from diverse backgrounds and cultures, and different countries, which they all find very enriching. The only thing they all have in common, is that they hail from very poor families and would not have had the opportunity for tertiary education, had it not been for the College’s bursaries. Her closing remarks appealed to Ms Xasa to encourage tourism establishments to employ the SA College for Tourism graduates. Referring to the theme for the day, Deputy-Minister Xasa encouraged the students to make the most of the wonderful opportunity afforded to them by the College. Like Dr Anton Rupert, who founded the College, she firmly believes in the famous words: educate a woman and you educate a nation.
The Deputy-Minister of Tourism, as the sixth of seven siblings who grew up with a single mother, and then with family members from the age of 10 when her mother passed away, said that the education the students were receiving would turn out to be a very powerful weapon in their quest to escape deprived backgrounds. Her advice to the students was to not think of themselves as just waitresses or chefs, but as entrepreneurs in the making. Ms Xasa undertook to approach the tourism industry and her own department to support the College in its endeavours, thereby providing a shining example of a private/public enterprise. The visit was concluded with lunch, eagerly prepared and served by the students.
Eighty eight young women and five young men graduated at the College on Friday, 22nd November 2013 in hospitality service operations.
The pre-graduation dinner on Thursday evening the 21st November and the graduation ceremony were hosted by Mrs Gaynor Rupert, Chairperson of the Board, for a number of South African and international guests, all friends and supporters of the College.
Guest Speaker of the day was Ms Unathi Msengana, South African singer, actress and radio personality. After her speech which held her audience of young graduates spellbound, Ms Msengana handed out certificates to the graduates who were capped by South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Tourism, Ms Tokozile Xasa.
The Top Hospitality Student of the Year from Malawi and her runner up from Namibia were announced by Mrs Barbara Pudel of Switzerland who congratulated the two ladies on being the recipients of a four month, all expenses paid, working holiday at Mrs Pudel’s guest house in Portofino, Italy.
The Top Culinary Art Student of the Year, a South African, was awarded the Thornybush Collections Trophy, received a cheque of ZAR 5,000 and won a year-long internship with the Executive Chef of Thornybush Collections.
Mr Werner Myburgh, Chief Executive Officer of Peace Parks Foundation brought the day’s proceedings to a close by handing the Peacemaker of the Year Award, one of a limited number of copies of a pen sketch of President Nelson R Mandela commissioned especially for the College by the artist, Sir Harold Riley, court painter of Queen Elizabeth II, to a graduate from Jagersfontein in the Free State Province.
Copies of the book, Moments of Truth, written by Mr Jan Carlzon about his years as Chief Executive Officer of Scandinavian Airlines and donated by the author and his wife to each member of the graduating Class of 2013, were presented by Mr Myburgh to the graduates as they sang during their procession out of the graduation hall.
The SA College for Tourism wishes to express its sincere appreciation to all its donors, sponsors and friends for their generosity and loyal support.
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