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In its continued commitment to skill unemployed rural youth between the ages of 18 to 35 from across Southern Africa, Absa has invested R1,5 million towards the development of hospitality and tourism industry skills as well as tracker and field guide skills programmes. These funds have been invested in the SA College for Tourism (SACT) in Graaff-Reinet.
“The SACT programmes align with our organisation’s value of Stewardship, leaving just over 100 young people better off by ensuring that they are employable, financially literate and have improved vocational skills once their training is complete. They are offered the tools needed to launch them into careers for which they have a passion.
“Our Citizenship philosophy seeks to ensure that our community investment initiatives empower our communities. We believe it is necessary for all communities to acquire skills that will ensure a sustainable future for both current and future generations,” says Gideon Serfontein, Head of Citizenship for Barclays in Africa.
Celebrating eleven years of supporting the SACT hospitality services and operations training, Absa is proud to be able to contribute towards the development and growth of young women and men who will enter the tourism sector with confidence, creating unique South African experiences for tourists and adding to the economy of South Africa.
Mrs Gaynor Rupert, Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the college said: “Absa’s support of the SA College for Tourism dates back to shortly after the inception of the college in 2001. Today, Absa is the single largest corporate supporter of the institution. The real recipients of Absa’s generosity are and of course have always been the 90 young rural women, all of them hailing from impoverished families with an income of below R30 000 per year, who are trained annually at the college in hospitality services and operations. The impact Absa has on the lives of these young women is clearly illustrated by the fact that all the trainees funded by Absa during the past four years are today gainfully employed in the South African tourism industry’s hospitality sector.”
“I am particularly thrilled that this year Absa has decided to also support the training of 16 marginalised young men in the ancient art of tracking animals in the wild, which is offered by the SA College for Tourism Tracker Academy,” concluded Mrs Rupert.
Peace Parks Foundation CEO, Mr Werner Myburgh said: “Absa has been supporting the Peace Parks Foundation since 1998, first as a corporate member of the Peace Parks Club and subsequently as a Club 21 member. Apart from their tremendous and much valued support of the foundation’s work, they have also been exemplary in their support of the SA College for Tourism. We are deeply appreciative of their support.”
In 2011 SACT was recognised for excellence and best practices by the South African Culture, Arts, Tourism, Hospitality & Sport Sector Education and Training Authority. An agreement that equates to SACT being a strategic training partner for the tourism industry in South Africa is currently in place. These high standards translate into the skills and competencies that the women trainees acquire to confidently enter the tourism sector.
The year-long programme offers an incentive for two promising students who are selected at the end of each year to go to Italy for four months. Here they are exposed to experiential learning and global benchmarks in the hospitality industry.
With the support of Peace Parks Foundation, these young women and men will be given the opportunity to be placed in internships and permanent employment after they achieve certification.
The women in hospitality services will be certified by the Central University of Technology and the South African Education and Culture, Arts, Tourism, Hospitality and Sport Sector Education and Training Authority. The men training as trackers and field guides will be certified through a national skills development course in tracking and will also receive a Field Guides Association of Southern Africa certificate