A group of 44 young chefs from Mdantsane has graduated from the Department of Tourism’s National Youth Chefs Training Programme.
The young culinary experts are part of the R74 million-NYCTP, which is funded by the National Department of Tourism and implemented by the South African Chefs Association to train and develop unemployed youth between the ages of 18 and 35 years.
Tourism Minister Tokozile Xasa conferred certificates on the graduates on Tuesday at a ceremony held in the Eastern Cape. She encouraged the graduates not to limit themselves to their confined backgrounds, but to think beyond the borders of their communities.
The Minister urged the graduates to uplift their communities by focusing on not only being employed but creating jobs, which in turn will empower them to be part of the wealth of the country.
“We are investing in our youth as government in order for them to become global citizens. The department has partnered with various stakeholders in the industry to continue to support graduates, especially those who want to have their own businesses and employ other young people,” said Minister Xasa.
The NYCTP was first piloted in 2011 for a period of 10 months, where a total of 800 young South Africans enrolled in the City and Guilds Certified qualification in Food Preparation and Cooking. Phase two of the programme commenced in the 2012/13 financial year.
Minister Xasa said the initiative is part of government’s National Development Plan (NDP) of creating 11 million jobs by 2030.
“Tourism is hard at work to improve the quality of life of our people. The department’s Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) is one of the vehicles used to help realise the objectives of the Human Resources Skills Strategy.
“Through the EPWP, the department is able to respond to the challenges of expanding our economy, while providing increased employment opportunities. The provision of employment opportunities will contribute to the NDPs vision of creating 11 million jobs by 2030.”
Speaking on behalf of the programme’s host employer, Jonathan McGlashan — one of the owners of the SuperSpar Vincent and Southernwood — congratulated the graduates and advised them to take advantage of the opportunities offered by this training. He acknowledged the role played by government in providing skills in this sector.
“To you the graduates, you have been given a gift, a skill set that can change your life, take you around the world as many previous graduates have done. What you do with is opportunity is up to you and only you can turn the skills you have been given into a career that will change your lives forever,” he said.
The ceremony was followed by an imbizo, where the community of Mdantsane had an opportunity to communicate the challenges they face, which included lack of employment.
Minister Xasa also visited the newly built Cecilia Makiwane Hospital in Mdantsane, where she took note of the impressive state-of-the-art kitchen of the hospital. She urged the management of the facility to consider offering employment opportunities to some of the graduate chefs. –