About 50 youths recently started a hospitality training programme offered by the City of Cape Town in partnership with the Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa (Fedhasa) yesterday (Monday). They signed their contracts on Thursday 28 June and have been placed in various hotels, guest houses and other hospitality-linked businesses. This is an extension of a pilot project that was first started in 2016 and is one of several skills development and training initiatives the City has undertaken through the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP). Other examples include computer training for 300 EPWP workers and an assistant artisanal training programme offered by the City’s Water and Sanitation Department. In 2016, the City and Fedhasa signed an agreement for a pilot project that saw 20 young people placed with various Fedhasa members to gain valuable on-the-job experience. Seven of the participants eventually secured permanent employment.In terms of the Memorandum of Agreement, Fedhasa will initiate and follow its own training criteria and framework to accomplish the objective of enhancing the participants’ chances of permanent employment, while the City will pay them a stipend from EPWP funding.“A benefit of partnerships such as this is that the work experience and training gained during the period of subsidised work improves longer-term employment prospects. “Youth unemployment remains a major concern countrywide and impacts negatively on the welfare of young people. It is for this reason that we need to create job opportunities through partnerships with the private sector for the benefit of our youth,” says Mayco member for safety, security and social services, JP Smith.The training and skills development programmes are based on research around the growth sectors in the country and the city, to equip participants with skills that will improve their employment prospects. One of the participants, Kim-Lee Bowman (25) from Lavender Hill, reportedly started at the Relax Spa at the Protea Hotel Fire & Ice by Marriott. She says this opportunity means a lot to her as she will be doing something she loves. Bowman says she studied but never got a chance to be in the field and she has been unemployed since April this year.