Big opportunity knocks

2015-09-02 06:00
DIGNITARIES in attendance at the Free State National Tourism Career Expo are from the left Nkosinjane Speelman, executive mayor of the Lejweleputswa District Municipality, Tokozile Xasa, deputy minister of Tourism, Sam Mashinini, Free State MEC for E

DIGNITARIES in attendance at the Free State National Tourism Career Expo are from the left Nkosinjane Speelman, executive mayor of the Lejweleputswa District Municipality, Tokozile Xasa, deputy minister of Tourism, Sam Mashinini, Free State MEC for E

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minister of Tourism, has encouraged the youth of South Africa to make tourism their immediate career of choice to unlock the potential in the industry.

She spoke at the launch of the National Tourism Career Expo held in Bloemfontein on Tuesday, 25 August.

Themed Tourism: Alive with Opportunities the expo is planned to be held in the Free State for the next three consecutive years, with Bloemfontein the host of choice.

Xasa said the expo was a platform for the Free State to create appealing opportunities for employment in tourism, further encouraging stakeholders to introduce tourism to learners and unemployed graduates.

“Stakeholders in tourism should make it more appealing to young people,” said Xasa.

“In the last four years, the department has introduced programmes such as the Food Safety Assurers Programme through which young unemployed tourism and hospitality graduates are exposed to the theory and practice of food safety.

“The other programme is Professional Chef Training which is an NQF Level 3 qualification.

“There is also the Sommelier Training Pilot Programme through which young people from the townships were exposed to the world of wine tasting.

“Another is the Tourism Buddies Programme, which is an on-the-job learnership. This programme exposes young people to the world of hospitality, giving them knowledge, skills and work experience to enter the job market to attract new entrants in the sector.”

According to Xasa, the programmes outlined had yielded positive results in creating employment opportunities, with an intake rate of about 68% into the tourism job market.

Sam Mashinini, Free State MEC for Economic Development, Tourism, Environmental Affairs and Small Business, echoed Xasa’s sentiments, emphasising the significance of positioning tourism as a potential job catalyst for unemployment in the country.

Mashinini lamented the trend that young people were still exclusively seeking jobs, particularly in government, rather than taking the initiative to venture into entrepreneurship to unlock the potential in tourism.

“The availability of high-quality infrastructure like roads should be a launching pad for careers in tourism in South Africa,” said Mashinini.

He pointed out, amoung others, the Performing Arts Council of the Free State (Pacofs) and the revamped football venue of the Seisa Ramabodu Stadium in Bloemfontein as having strong appeal to tourists.

The expo’s main objective is to promote tourism as a career and profession of choice, while at the same time promoting the industry as an employer of choice.

The primary target market for the expo is learners in gr. 9 to gr. 12, as well as students at colleges for further training and universities, especially those studying with Tourism and Hospitality as subjects.

This target group also includes unemployed tourism graduates, teachers and lecturers at high schools, colleges and universities.

Parallel to this target market are the industry players who drive the tourism products from various sub sectors.

Learners and teachers expected to participate in the expo will be from all nine provinces of South Africa and will involve exhibition stalls of the 60 industry players.

Schools and learners will be invited to register to participate by visiting or by calling 051-400-9595

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