Making its third anniversary this year, the National Youth Chefs Training Programme (NYCTP) keeps on soaring; changing the lives of young unemployed people and providing the hospitality industry with a highly sought after skilled workforce.
NYCTP was created in a unique partnership between the National Department of Tourism (NDT) and the South African Chefs Association (SACA) to address the urgent need for chefs in South Africa’s growing hospitality industry.
This programme forms part of the National Government’s Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) as an initiative to fund skills development projects to create employment and this year’s programme will begin in July throughout the country.
“In line with this, SACA was tasked to engage and educate young, unemployed people who have the interest, drive and aptitude to work as chefs in the hospitality industry,” says SACA Communications Manager, Lauren Hills.
Lauren says the pilot programme which began in April 2011, enlisted 800 students in a platform that is designed to provide learners with both theoretical and practical training.
Making its third anniversary this year, the youth chefs training keeps on soaring; changing the lives of young people and providing the hospitality industry with a highly sought after skilled workforce.
She says the Minister of Tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, and the NDT have been inspired and excited about the programme saying it makes a positive impact in the fight against unemployment. Lauren said the project came as a respond to the critical need in the development of hospitality and tourism industry.
“In Government we work with budgets, policies and policy documents, and I know that a lot of people look at us and wonder what it achieves. Does it change lives? When I look at this programme [NYCTP] I am convinced that this is a programme that will touch the lives of many people,” said Minister Van Schalkwyk during his speech at the launch of NYCTP.
All students who enrol in the programme at a first year level will complete a City & Guilds Certificate in Food Preparation and Cooking (Culinary Arts) and in the second year, on successfully completing the course, can enrol to complete a City & Guilds Diploma in Food Preparation and Cooking.
Lauren says for the first time ever, this year’s NYCTP will be training students at a third year level. “The students that make it into the third year will complete an Advanced Diploma in Food Preparation and Cooking and will learn leadership and management skills, as well as menu and recipe development and more specialised cooking skills. On completing their third year, these NYCTP graduates will have the skills and experience necessary to enter a junior management role.”
The programme runs in all nine provinces, and 26 SACA-accredited culinary schools have taken an active part in the creation and success of NYCTP.
In addition to the solid theoretical training the students in first, second and third year receive they also gain valuable practical experience in restaurant, hotel and resort kitchens from across the country.