Grooming the future of tourism

[Image] Councillor Willie van der Schyf addresses the graduating interns at the ceremony.

[Image] The proud graduates received a certificate from Councillor Van der Schyf and Monique Griffith of the City of Johannesburg.
(Images: Cadine Pillay)

MEDIA CONTACTS
Lucky Sindane
  Liaison officer,
  Department of Economic Development
  +27 76 862 4377

RELATED ARTICLES
Leading SA’s youth out of poverty
Education rights affirmed
Taking ballet to township kids
Inner city kids learn about film
Safeguarding our future leaders
New uniforms for needy pupils

Cadine Pillay

The City of Johannesburg’s (CoJ) economic development department has wrapped up its pilot tourism internship programme with pleasing results.

Proud interns graduated from the programme at a ceremony held in Newtown on 15 March, receiving certificates to mark their efforts.

The tourism internship programme was launched in August 2012 by councillor Ruby Mathang, a member of the Mayoral Committee for Economic Development.

The programme was aimed at pupils who only had a matric qualification, as well as unemployed graduates, and proved so successful that it will be implemented again with Cathseta – the Culture, Arts, Tourism, Hospitality and Sport Sector Education and Training Authority.

The programme gave young people the opportunity to gain valuable work experience across a broad range of service providers in the tourism industry. These included hotels, guest houses, museums and tourist attractions. Of 146 starters, 109 candidates graduated from this internship.

Offering young people work experience

 “I am extremely proud to say that we have received wonderful and positive feedback and reports from the tourism product owners, about the candidates’ work ethics and eagerness to learn,” said Monique Griffith, director of sector support at the city’s Department of Economic Development.

As a result of their outstanding performance, some of the students received job offers from the establishments which hosted them. Some are upmarket and others cater for the everyday patron.

These included Radisson Blue Hotel Sandton, Radisson Blue Hotel Gautrain, Booysens Hotel, Culinary Passion School Hospitality, Vaal Nests Boutique Hotel, The Elegant Lodge, Hospitality Ambassadors, Maropeng Visitor Centre and Hotel, City Lodge Group, Kwa Eden Accommodation and Conferencing, Riviera on the Vaal Hotel and Spa, Adler Museum of Medicine at Wits University, Department of Economic Development, Department of Community Development and Joburg Tourism Company.

Mathang said there are a number of other programmes designed by CoJ and aimed at empowering young people – they include the youth entrepreneurship strategy and the skills development strategy as well as programmes such as the Recognition of Prior Learning programme, which has certified over 2 000 competent individuals and placed over 200 of them in the construction sector in the past three years, and the Leago Work Placement Programme, which aims to train 1 000 individuals and place over 500 young employees in the construction, ICT, media and communications and services sectors.

Tackling youth unemployment with tourism

Youth unemployment is a challenge not only in Johannesburg but in South Africa. In 2011, President Jacob Zuma set a target of 5-million jobs to be created by 2012. Last year only 80 000 new jobs were created.

Figures from 2012 show that tourism supports one in every 12 jobs in South Africa, and domestic tourism contributed R20-billion (US$2.2-billion) to the national economy last year, which makes tourism a lucrative industry for young people to get into.

More than five-million domestic trips were recorded in South Africa in the first quarter of 2012, injecting R5.2-billion ($564-million) to the economy. This is over R600-million ($65-million), or 13%, more than last year’s economic contribution over the same period.

“As a regional economic hub and centre for business, Joburg plays a critical role in attracting business, retail and sports tourism – there lie your opportunities. The future of our country is in this room,” said Councillor Willie van der Schyf who addressed the interns before awarding their certificates.

Van der Schyf went on to say that the role of city management was to dually support the interns and the industry by paying a monthly stipend to allow them to accumulate work experience whilst increasing their employability.

He added, “Although the CoJ programme has ended, this does not mean the end for the 109 candidates who completed their internships. Cathseta will be taking on our interns and continuing with them by providing additional learnerships and internship opportunities.“