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T Xasa: National Youth Chefs Training Programme
T Xasa: National Youth Chefs Training Programme

Deputy Mayor of the Ethekwini municipality Cllr Nomvuso Shabalala,
Deputy President of the South African Chefs Association Mr James Khoza
ANC Women’s league regional secretary Zama Sokhabase (tbc)
ANC Youth League regional secretary Themba Ntuli (tbc)
The various host employers present,
Industry members,
Proud parents
Ladies and gentlemen
And most importantly our Graduates,

You are all welcome

It was Nelson Mandela who said that after climbing one hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.

Today we are gathered here to celebrate your achievement as young people and the commitment that you have shown in securing your own futures.

Your graduation today however, should not be seen as the destination on your journey to better yourselves but rather one small step towards reaching your destination.

You are part of the 470 candidates who have successfully completed this training programme nationally out of the 577 that started.

In KZN, 118 beneficiaries started the programme at the beginning of the last financial year and today 91 of those who started in this province are graduating.

Programme background

The National Youth Chefs Training Programme is part of the National Department of Tourism’s Expanded Public Works Social Responsibilty Implementation Programme.

We have partnered with the South African Chefs Association (SACA) as an implementing partner of the programme in the field of professional cookery for the selected beneficiaries.

You, as beneficiaries of this programme, have been trained in the National Certificate of professional cookery NQF level 3.

Your training is accredited by City and Guilds and your qualification is recognised by all cookery or food related sectors in South Africa.

This includes everything from small restaurants to large-scale hotels.

The National Certificate of Professional Cookery further promotes beneficiaries for the development of their careers in this very competitive but exciting industry.

Programme objectives

What we are hoping to achieve with this programme is to address the scarce and critical skills shortage in the sector as reflected in the Tourism Skills audit report of 2007, to meet the demand of the hospitality sector for chef and cookery skills and to empower unemployed youth with the skills to enable them to take up employment opportunities available in the industry.

This programme will also make a meaningful contribution to poverty alleviation through the payment of the stipend while still capacitating youth with skills to make them employable.

Programme highlights – Nationally

The national pass rate of the programme is 80, 76% and 65% of those who passed also received distinctions and merit awards.

More than 700 of the learners have already secured permanent jobs from phase 1 of the NYCTP to date and the enthusiasm shown by the beneficiaries in actually entering a career is encouraging and the passion shown in the workplace will impact on those around you.

R63 million was budgeted for the 2015/16 and 2016/17 financial years targeting 577 beneficiaries.

It is worth noting that of the 577 beneficiaries, 200 were doing the Advanced Diploma specialising in pastry and will thus be exiting the programme.

This leaves 377 beneficiaries still in the programme (nationally) and it is planned that an additional 200 beneficiaries will start the certificate level from the beginning of next month. 

An additional R10 million has been budgeted to train the additional beneficiaries and maintain the target of 577 beneficiaries in the programme. 

Challenges, lessons learnt and the future

The absenteeism rate within the training programme is a big challenge and has had a direct bearing on the failure rate.

In addressing this challenge we will be further enhancing the life skills and thorough workplace orientation given to the beneficiaries on the objectives of the programme when they start the programme.

Going forward

The new entrants for the current financial year have already been recruited (we have received their CVs) and it is planned that the selection process will be finalised by the end of this month.

105 learners nationally will continue with the National Certificate for professional cookery course level 2.    

In conclusion

Let me leave you with this to chew on;
Life is not what happens to us but how we react to it.
You have taken the first bold step towards empowering yourselves, don’t let it go to waste.

I thank you and congratulations.