Fifty eight graduates from the Eastern Cape received their formal chef qualifications this week after graduating from the National Youth Chefs Training Programme (NYCTP), coordinated by the National Department of Tourism.
The programme - which will graduate over 100 new chefs around the country this month - is a national initiative to address the skills shortage in in the hospitality industry and to boost tourism in South Africa's nine provinces.
The Eastern Cape graduation ceremony took place at Old Selbornian Club in East London.
Deputy Minister of Tourism, Fish Mahlalela, who officiated at the graduation ceremony, said the programme would also provide learners with accredited training programmes that will enable them to obtain credits towards further studies.
This will increase the pool of skilled labour within industry and create temporary jobs for unemployed people through implementation of the Expanded Public Works Programme, focusing on the youth, women and people with disabilities thus contributing towards poverty alleviation through the payment of stipend.
“As a country, we are faced with the high unemployment rate especially among the youth. Hence, this ambitious government intervention to strengthen youth empowerment programmes to address this anomaly.
"Celebrating 25 years of Democracy, we should be proud that tourism plays a major role in improving the quality of life of our people, through our various initiatives including the one we are celebrating today,” Mahlalela said.
Launched in 2011, the NYCTP is a 10-month training course which comprises of 30% theory and 70% work integrated learning.
The NYCTP is recognised globally for its positive impact and outcomes. The programme is implemented by the South African Chefs Association (SA Chefs) and it is accredited by City and Guilds.
During training, the beneficiaries were introduced to the fundamentals, core and electives unit standards of Professional Cookery. This qualification is recognised by all cookery or food related sectors in South Africa.
"Since its inception in 2011, the National Youth Chefs Training programme has given hope to 2 072 learners," Mahlalela said.
"Seventy two percent of those graduates are employed permanently, with the rest in temporary assignment, further training or pursuing entrepreneurial opportunities in the tourism value chain nationally. And there is nothing more powerful than to invest in young energetic minds that are willing to participate and contribute towards a better and inclusive future,”
Source: National Department of Tourism