Bergzicht Training cooking course instils confidence

Stephanie Nieuwoudt

“Learn to identify and to grab opportunities when they come your way. Because you cannot wait for others to make things happen for you.”

This was the message of Conrad Sidego, executive mayor of Stellenbosch, at a ceremony held at the Private Hotel School in Vlottenburg to celebrate 12 young people, beneficiaries of the Mayoral Skills Development Programme, who had just completed the City and Guilds Professional Cooking and Food and Beverage Service course.

The course is offered by the NGO Bergzicht Training through the Private Hotel School.

“You must create your own destiny and not rely on others to do it for you,” Mr Sidego continued. “Food is something that can bring people together and because it is such an important part of every person’s daily life, there will always be an opportunity to find work or create your own work in the industry.”

The students treated guests with a variety of scones, cheesecake, lemon meringue tartlets, chocolate éclairs and other delicious things to eat.

Teshmarine and Teshmar-elda Holland, 21-year-old twins, said they had gained a lot of confidence during this course.

Teshmarine previously worked as a waitress, while Teshmarelda worked as a receptionist for a transport company. “I am extremely shy but I am really much more confident after having completed this course,” said Teshmarelda.

Her sister added: “I real-ised here how many things I did wrong when I was a waitress – from setting tables to the way of serving,” said Teshmarine.

Student Damien Julies said he was always the black sheep in his family of four children.

“This course made me think about my life in general. I now realise that there is a greater goal for each of us.

“I am thankful that I was chosen to do this course because it has given my life a new purpose.”

Candidates on the Mayoral Skills Development Training programme are invited to apply for training.

They are then put through a vigorous selection process by Bergzicht and the Private Hotel School before 12 candidates are chosen.

The duration of the course is seven weeks, whereafter the students are placed in the hospitality industry (restaurants or hotels) where they get on the job training for three weeks.

“You have chosen a very glamorous industry to find employment in,” said Kathy Harris, director of Bergzicht Training. “However, it is also an extremely tough industry and things can become very challenging.

“In this industry your attitude and the way you deal with challenges are important.”