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Keynote address by Deputy Minister of Tourism Honourable Elizabeth Thabethe at the National Youth Chefs Training Graduation at Sugar Ray Xulu, Durban
Keynote address by Deputy Minister of Tourism Honourable Elizabeth Thabethe at the National Youth Chefs Training Graduation

Thank you Programme Director.

Executive Mayor of Ethekwini Municipality, Cllr Zandile Ngubeni


SACA representative, Mr Thomas Overbeck

Host Employer representative, Chef Xanthos

DDG – Morongoa Ramphele

Officials from the National Department of Tourism

Officials from the Provincial department of Economic Development & Tourism


Most importantly, the students who are graduating today

Ladies and gentlemen

Today is an auspicious and exciting day for the graduates as they are being recognised for completing the requirements of the course they signed up for and committed themselves to.  They are reaping the fruits of their hard work and efforts to qualify as skilled Chefs who are in high demand.

The National Youth Chef Training Programme, created in partnership between the National Department of Tourism and the South African Chefs Association, is a dynamic, practical and important project that trains and develops unemployed youth between the ages of 18 and 35 in the skills of the culinary arts. The programme was first piloted in 2011 for a period of 6 months, where a total of 800 young South Africans enrolled in the City and Guilds Certified Certificate qualification in Food Preparation and Cooking.

Phase II of the programme commenced in the 2012/2013 financial year. The period of the training was extended/expanded to a period of 10 months. During this phase, 800 learners participated in the programme. A total of 500 learners enrolled for a certificate level, whilst 300 learners were enrolled for the Diploma level in Food Preparation and Cooking. Another 260 graduates were enrolled in the Advanced Diploma in Food Preparation and Cooking, and a further 80 graduates engaged for the Advanced Diploma – City and Guilds in Food Preparation and Cooking (Patisserie) and Supervision in 2013.

Skills development remains central as South Africa continues to refine its capacity as an industrial country. The various training and development initiatives undertaken by the Department continue to enhance and develop skills among young people and enable them to acquire knowledge which allows them to become productive participants in the economy of the country.

In continuing with the programme, the Department of Tourism approved a budget of R 74 122 374 to train 577 learners during the 2015/2016 financial year and another 577 learners in the 2016/2017 financial year. The South African Chefs Association (SACA) was appointed as the training service provider of the NYCT programme in the field of Professional Cookery for the selected beneficiaries nationwide. A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) and business plan were signed between the department and SACA for the implementation of the project. The programme was implemented in eight provinces except the Northern Cape, during the 2016/2017 financial year. The programme has run for a ten-month period implemented by various SACA appointed training providers / schools (public and private) in all provinces.

The beneficiaries were trained in the National Certificate of Professional Cookery NQF 3 which consists of 145 credits. The programme consisted of 30% theory and 70% practical training and it is accredited by City and Guilds. During training, the beneficiaries were introduced to the fundamentals, core and elective unit standards of Professional Cookery. This qualification is recognised by all cookery or food related sectors in South Africa, from small restaurants to large scale hotels. It promotes beneficiaries for career development.

Enrolled learners were trained on either one of the following three qualifications:

  • Certificate in Food Preparation and Cooking (Level-01)
  • Diploma in Food Preparation and Cooking (Level-02)
  • Diploma in Food Preparation and Cooking (Pastry) (Level-03)

On 25 July 2017, 305 learners from Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Free State, North West and Gauteng graduated. On 22 August, 50 learners graduated in the Western Cape and today, 89 learners will be graduating.

Nationally, the total number of graduates is 518.

A total of 24 graduates from the current phase will not be attending the graduations as they have been placed in international establishments to gain further experience. 

  • Seychelles (20)
  • USA (14)

Highlights of the training programme, nationally for 2016/17 financial year:

  • There were 577 candidates selected and enrolled in the programme;
  • There are 570 candidates who have successfully written the exams;
  • 518 candidates will be graduating
  • 90% of the learners passed;
  • 66% of the learners achieved distinctions and merit passes
  • A total of 19 hotel schools participated in the programme.
  • A 100% rate was achieved by the following nine schools;
    •  Vhembe FET (Limpopo),
    •  Alfresco, Fusion (Eastern Cape),
    •  François Ferreira,
    •  Swiss Hotel (Gauteng),
    •  Ikusasa (Western Cape),
    •  Waterberg FET (Limpopo),
    •  Silwood Kitchen (Western Cape), and
    •  Mafikeng Hotel School (North West).

Achievements of the programme to date are as follows:

  • 1 510 graduates
  • Over 762 graduates are employed permanently
  • 417 graduates qualify to continue with the diploma level and advanced diploma level(patisserie)

Challenges of the training programme

  • The absenteeism rate as a consequence had a direct bearing on the failure rate (9%).
  • To mitigate the absenteeism rate it is recommended that for future training interventions, learners must be given a thorough orientation on the objectives of the programme together with a short life skills course.

Future Plans for the programme:

  • The continuation of 227 learners with the National Certificate: Professional Cookery course level 3. Moreover, 100 will continue with the National Certificate Professional Cookery course level 2.
  • Recruitment and selection of 250 new entrants for the 2017/18 financial year period.

In conclusion, I extend my heartfelt congratulations to all the graduates. The world is waiting and you have to take charge and create your own destinies. We are all proud of you and wish you well.

I thank you