Demand-led Tourism Industry Training Arrives In Rural South Africa

Rural South Africa

The first groups of demand-led training, resulting from the new travel and tourism industry alliance in South Africa, are successfully underway.

The first 85 young women and men from previously under-served communities will find employment as soon as they complete their training programmes in the areas of hospitality and enterprise development, successfully. These programmes are ongoing in Hazyview, Durban and Polokwane.

The Hazyview Project

Hazyview is adjacent to the Greater Kruger National Park and close to some of the world’s most celebrated safari businesses. Here, 25 young women from surrounding rural communities are immersed in a Hospitality training programme that will ultimately provide them with job opportunities in a new hotel in Skukuza.

Sponsored by global travel technology leader, Amadeus, in partnership with Economic Development Solutions and Thebe Tourism Group, the Hazyview Project is a first outcome of the Travel and Tourism Excellence Academy, which was announced last year.

Says Waldo Adams, Executive Director: Projects at Economic Development Solutions (EDS) and Programme Lead for the Travel and Tourism Excellence Academy, “To bring real value, we first identify together with businesses in the industry, where work opportunities lie and the skills required for those roles, before embarking on the journey to upskill and train individuals in the area.”

To ensure the unique needs of the rural-based learners are met and that quality and certified standards are delivered at the end, non-profit Good Work Foundation (GWF) is running the programme at its Hazyview Digital Campus, in partnership with the South Africa College of Tourism.

“Our students have jobs waiting for them. In 2020, based on requirements from the industry, we will double the number of students in this programme. The intention is to connect young rural South Africans to the huge opportunities in the growing economy of wildlife,” adds Maria Goretti Awogu, GWFs Executive Head of Programmes.

For 12 months, the candidates will receive a combination of theoretical learning, practical training and activities that simulate the real work environment. In addition to industry-specific skills, the programme includes Generic Life Skills essential to equipping students for careers in hospitality (e.g. customer care, workplace communication, telephone and computer skills). Further, the South African College of Tourism (SACT) accreditation will ensure recognised certification for the successful candidates.

“On the practical learning front, the students have recently had their first experience in a hotel environment,” continues Kathleen Hay, the GWF Academy Programme Manager. “It was the first time in a hotel for many of them, and so it was an extremely valuable learning experience.”

Amadeus and Thebe Tourism Group are both immensely satisfied to see this first proof-of-concept progressing and encourage the industry to further collaborate to fill critical skills gaps, while helping to reduce unemployment among South African youths.

“We are delighted that the first group of students have started their journey and hope they will have prosperous careers in the travel industry. We will continue to share progress on the various ongoing training projects including in Durban and Polokwane,” Adams concludes.