CHEERS TO 88 KZN SOMMELIER LEARNERS
Wine-pairing is fast becoming a service on offer at many establishments and demand for skilled staff is growing. Development of this niche sub-sector aims to enhance the hospitality experience through creating a multi-sensory culinary adventure. This will not only play a major role in enhancing the tourism value chain, but also contribute to the overall Tourism Sector Recovery Plan.
In light of this, the Department of Tourism has hosted a graduation ceremony for the Wine Service Training Programme in KwaZulu-Natal, recognising 88 sommelier graduates who will help boost the talent pool in the region.
This is the culmination of a process that began with the allocation of funding from the Expanded Public Works Programme to the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces to deliver a Wine Service Training Programme during the 2021/22 financial year.
The programme aimed at training 252 unemployed youth from KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape in the hospitality related Culture, Art, Tourism, Hospitality and Sports sector education and Training Authority (Cathsseta) Skills Programme, namely Bar Attendant (SAQA ID HSP/BarAtt/2/0027) and Drink Service (SAQA ID HSP/DSRVA/2/0024).
Learners also received training from the Sommelier Academy (South African and International Wine and Wine Ambassador) and South African Sommeliers Association (Introductory Sommelier Certificate). This entailed a three-month theory and a nine-month experiential training course in the workplace.
The training commenced on 1 November 2021 and the learners exited on 31 October 2022.
Learners were issued with skills programmes certificates accredited by CATHSSETA, Sommelier Academy and S.A. Sommelier Association.
Graduates were elated at their achievement and shared their sentiments.
Twenty-year-old learner, Yashiel Birkramchud from Phoenix, stated: “This has been a positive and empowering experience for me and I will encourage other young adults to apply for this programme.”
Nothando Khuzwayo (26) from Ballito echoed this, saying: “I consider myself very lucky to be equipped with these invaluable skills and am forever grateful to the Department of Tourism.”
Although the programme was successfully implemented, it was noted that learners would require additional training to become fully multi-skilled and have access to job opportunities. Thus, they would need to acquire further skills in order to become baristas or wine farm tourist guides and would need entrepreneurship and management skills in order to further develop their careers.
The Department said that it would continue to advance the tourism and hospitality experience and reaffirmed its commitment to training and development which will yield many happy returns that would help facilitate the province’s Tourism Sector Recovery Plan.
This is a collaborative sector plan worked out jointly by all tourism players and adopted by Cabinet in April 2021 as part of the country’s overall economic recovery from the pandemic and help recover and create jobs.
The overall programme includes the creation of new tourism attractions, refurbishment of existing tourism precincts, aggressive investor promotion and skills development programmes.
According to Minister of Tourism, Lindiwe Sisulu, tourism contributes 3,7% to South Africa’s gross domestic product – more than the contributions of the agriculture, utilities and construction sectors. It is also a major job creator worldwide.v