Thebe Tourism Group, South Africa’s oldest black-empowered tourism company, in partnership with Amadeus, has announced that the first graduates from the Travel & Tourism Excellence Academy’s Hazyview Project are ready to enter the job market.

The programmes are being run in Hazyview, Durban and Polokwane.

Twenty-five young women from rural communities surrounding the Kruger National Park were enrolled in a hospitality programme that will ultimately provide them with job opportunities in a new hotel in Skukuza.

The Hazyview project is a first outcome of the Travel & Tourism Excellence Academy in its aim to provide demand-led training programmes to address skills shortages in the tourism sector, while alleviating rural poverty.

Waldo Adams, Executive Director of Projects at Economic Development Solutions, and Programme Lead for the Travel & Tourism Excellence Academy, says: “To bring real value, we first identify together with businesses in the industry, where work opportunities lie and the skills required for those roles, before embarking on the journey to upskill and train individuals in the area.”

To ensure the needs of the rural-based learners are met, with quality and certified standards delivered at the end, the programme is being run by the non-profit Good Work Foundation (GWF) at its Hazyview Digital Campus, in partnership with the South African College of Tourism.

“Our students have jobs waiting for them. In 2020, based on requirements from the industry, we will double the number of students in this programme. The intention is to connect young rural South Africans to the huge opportunities in the growing economy of wildlife,” says Maria Goretti Awogu, GWF’s Executive Head of Programmes.