Prep Underway: GWF’s New 2019 Tourism & Travel Academy

Preparations are underway at Good Work Foundation’s (GWF) Hazyview Digital Learning Campus for presenting the first Hospitality Skills programme in 2019 in partnership with the South African College of Tourism (SACT).

Over the next three years, GWF plans to train over 300 students who will be able to enter the hospitality industry with a base of digital skills and we were thrilled earlier in 2018 when more than 20 local hospitality businesses pledged to source interns from our alumni.

As well as the digital skills, the Hospitality Skills programme is designed to equip students with both the knowledge and skills around three critical skills areas within hotel/lodge operations: Table Attendant, Front of House – Reception and Housekeeper.

Our team of coordinators within the Travel & Tourism Academy at GWF have been working through the programme in detail, planning how we can ensure the delivery of a quality training experience.

Hippo Hollow Hotel, a Seasons in Africa property, generously offered our two of our facilitators, Nikiwe Mabanga and Desmond Sithole, an opportunity to spend three weeks in the hotel gaining experience in each department.

“The Seasons in Africa Group is very excited and proud to be part of the Good Work Foundation’s initiative for developing local skills, because educating and empowering willing and ambitious candidates from our local community is one of our focus points. Our Group also benefits from this programme by retaining these candidates within the various companies after completing their training with us. We are looking forward to a long and prosperous relationship with the Good Work Foundation.”

Both Nikiwe and Desmond were thrilled with the opportunity and have just returned after completing work experience at Hippo Hollow. We met up with them to hear all about their experience so far.

“It has been a dream come true”, said Desmond. “I have never been in a hotel and I am learning so much. I have learnt a lot about table service, buffets and à la carte service, serving drinks at the bar, stock takes and preparing bills. The list is so long of all the new things I have learnt. I am now working with the housekeeping team and have learnt how to clean and prepare a room to perfection! Our students are certainly going to benefit from all these new skills I am now going to be able to share with them”.

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Desmond in the housekeeping department at Hippo Hillow Hotel.

Nikiwe has spent this week at the reception desk and has experienced all aspects from guest check- in’s and check-outs to handling telephone calls. “I was very nervous at first”, she said. “Now I am feeling a lot more confident in dealing with tourists and able to handle the reception duties. The hotel manager and staff have been so encouraging and supportive and spent a lot of time explaining things in detail. They discussed issues such as ensuring guest safety as well as how to handle difficult clients. It has been so interesting! Tomorrow I start with table service. I am so grateful to GWF and Seasons in Africa for giving me this opportunity to learn!”

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Nikiwe: A beautiful smile front of house at Hippo Hollow.

We would like to thank the teams at Hippo Hollow, as well as Seasons in Africa for giving this opportunity to our staff and students. We will only increase youth employment in South Africa by collaborating to give exposure to practical experience to our young people. Nikiwe and Desmond are beaming, and we have no doubt that they will, in turn, produce exceptional young people for local businesses in Mpumalanga.

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