There was a flurry of activity when Muizenberg High School was visited by ministers, GrandWest Casino staff and various other stakeholders to officially open the brand new hospitality studies classroom and a revamped kitchen.The renovation was made possible by Sun International, GrandWest, who donated R255 000 used to revamp the facilities during the June school holidays. Karen Barnard, deputy principal at the school, said at the launch on Tuesday 19 November, that the revamp was much-needed. “It was old, in many respects not functional, it was rusty and it was broken. We changed from consumer studies to hospitality so the learners would experience what they would in the industry, so the kitchen, as it was, definitely would not serve that purpose.” School principal Leonie Jacobsen added that a fault in the circuit board at the school would cause the lights to trip frequently when the electronic equipment was put to use. GrandWest’s monetary input went towards the new floor, uniforms for the hospitality studies learners, new stoves, painting the walls and cupboards, utensils and more.Mervyn Naidoo, general manager for GrandWest, said the revamp was about more than just educating the children, but also about equipping them with the right skills to make them employable after school. “This is classroom number nine,” he said. “The reason we did this is that we’re looking for chefs and if we don’t go back to a grassroots level and create an interesting place for them to learn, we’re never going to get chefs. We’ve got to invest in these kids.”The facilities allow the learners to train in an environment that imitates the industry and the programme provides vocational training to make them immediately employable after school.Shene Franzen, the learners’ hospitality studies teacher, says she was a learner at the school and would have loved to have this opportunity that is now being afforded to the current learners. “For them, it’s a wonderful opportunity, especially for the kids who come out of communities who don’t necessarily see this setup. They get to learn and train in a place that gives them purpose.”With the City of Cape Town having revealed that tourism accounts for 300 000 jobs in the city, this opportunity will further increase learners’ chances of finding jobs and making careers in the hospitality industry.The Grade 10 learners of 2019 are the first group to work with the new equipment, with the rest of the school looking forward to next year’s hospitality events and classes.The launch of the classroom was attended by the Western Cape ministers of community safety Albert Fritz, social development Sharna Fernandez, and the chief director of districts at the Western Cape education department Alan Meyer.