Jobs of a lifetime for Western Cape 9

29 July 2010

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HOSPITALITY industry graduate Babalwa Tshabalala couldn’t find a job – but now she’s in sunny Florida in the USA, on a year’s internship with the Ritz Carlton, one of the world’s swankiest hotels.

“It’s a dream come true – a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” she said.”

Woodstock resident Tshabalala is one of nine young people from the Western Cape to have been selected to take part in an international internship programme – a joint initiative involving the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism, the national Department of Tourism and a company called Ubuntu Exposure – for historically disadvantaged hospitality industry graduates

Tshabalala and three other graduates – Dylan Anderson of Brackenfell, Marche Jones of Wellington and Nicola Grootboom of Eerste River were chosen to go to the Ritz Carlton. In September, five other hospitality industry newcomers will jet off to Canada to take up positions at Toronto’s Whistler Blackcomb hotel

Last week, the 25-year-old hospitality manager flew to Naples, Florida, to begin her year’s stint away from home.

“I’ve never been overseas before,” she said. “I’m excited. I can’t wait to get there – to experience life in America. I am a bit nervous, but I’m sure that once I get there, I’ll be fine.

Alan Winde, the Western Cape Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, said: “I’m thrilled for Babalwa and the others.

“And I’m proud of the involvement of the Department in this project. Even though our monetary contribution was relatively modest – about R200,000 for the four graduates who will be based in the US – our involvement has laid an important foundation: it has started a process in which two arms of government (provincial and national), local business and overseas establishments were able to get together to establish a vehicle geared towards providing high-quality skills training for young people in the Western Cape.

“The nine interns were offered an opportunity and they’ve grabbed it. They have a year to gain experience working in a leading American hotel group – and when they return to the Western Cape, the world will be their oyster,” Winde said.


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