Graduate Chefs Snapped up After Western Cape Artisan Development Programme
Today, Minister of Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde, hosted a graduation ceremony for 29 chefs who received their professional qualifications after taking part in the Western Cape Government Artisan Development Programme.
The newly qualified chefs, many of them in their early twenties, hail from communities across the province including Khayelitsha, Mitchell’s Plain, Nyanga, Delft and Paarl, amongst others.
In addition to completing a 12 week Competency Based Modular Training Programme, they were deployed for 18 months to various hotels in and around Cape Town to get first-hand experience in the kitchen. After making it through this phase, the candidates performed a two day practical trade test at the Fedics master chef kitchen in Bellville, where the students were judged on their cooking preparation skills, presentation and taste. According to the Executive Chef presiding over the test, the learners’ dishes were of a very high standard.
After handing them their certificates in Professional Cookery, Minister Winde issued his warm congratulations to the group: “I am so proud of these young Western Cape residents. They have worked extremely hard to complete the programme, despite its irregular hours and high pressure. Today, these graduates become professionals in their field, an accomplishment which will catapult them into good careers.”
Of the 29 graduates present at the event, 24 have already secured jobs.
“Our studies showed us that professional chefs are high in demand. That is why we prioritised the development of new chefs through our Artisan Development Programme. The high rate of uptake amongst these graduates is proof that through programmes like this one, we can narrow the gap between the demand and supply of critical skills and create opportunities for more young people to become employed”, said Winde.
One of the graduating chef, Amy Domingo, said after receiving her certificate: “I am so happy today because this is my passion and my dream. I have learnt so much and grown so much over the past two years. One day I want to be the Executive Chef in my own restaurant.”
Following the success of this pilot, the Artisan Development Programme will be expanded to ensure that more young residents are provided with opportunities to gain trade-specific qualifications in industries with skills shortages.
Winde concluded: “I’d like to thank all our partners in this project, including those who offered coaching and support in the hotels and kitchens which took on our artisans. Most of all, I would like to thank the graduates for their dedication to their studies. I firmly believe that today marks the start of a better future for each and every one of them.”