A multi-year grant of R1.05 million towards the SA College for Tourism (SACT) from Anglo American's corporate social investment arm, the Chairman's Fund, is helping to uplift people in rural areas across Southern Africa by providing them with skills training and access to viable career opportunities in the tourism and hospitality sectors.
The SACT, which is located in Graaff-Reinet in the Eastern Cape, is a hospitality service operations and management training institution that trains and supports learners from marginalised communities in South Africa and other Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries. The training programmes focus on hospitality and tracking training.
The Chairman's Fund's grant, which runs from 2012 to 2014, is being directed towards the operational costs of the college, in support of its hospitality training programme. The fund has supported SACT continually since 2006, with grants of R200 000 and R220 000 in 2010 and 2011 respectively being approved towards the general hospitality training expenses of the college.
Better lives for families
SACT executive director Andre Killian notes that the fund's support is proving critical in creating better lives for numerous families. "As our college is largely donor-funded, the Chairman's Fund's grants have proved critical in ensuring that people who lack the relevant skills and training to compete in the job market, have a chance to be up skilled, and gain sustainable employment.
"In turn, this will engender a widespread and positive difference, as these people will become less dependent on government grants, and have the opportunity to create a far better life for themselves and their families."
Backing up this claim, Killian notes that each person who successfully completes the programme and gains employment will support three to four family members, on average. He adds that about 85% of participants in the hospitality service programme and all of the participants in the trackers programme, gain employment upon completion.
Preference to unemployed women
The SACT hospitality programme trains 90 women between 19 and 35 years, with preference given to unemployed women from family units with an annual income of below R30 000. Additionally, up to 16 trackers are trained per year through the Tracker Academy.
Approximately 70% of students come from South Africa, and the remainder from SADC countries, with full, non-refundable bursaries provided to cover all aspects of their nine month training programme plus incidentals.
Chairman's Fund chairperson Norman Mbazima concludes that the SACT's training initiatives aligns with the Fund's core objectives. "The Chairman's Fund is committed to bringing about sustained and meaningful change in communities, and furthering educational and job creation opportunities is a central aspect of this philosophy.
"We are therefore proud to offer continued support to the services of the college, as its impressive efforts in providing skills training and aiding employment is undoubtedly creating a real socio-economic difference in numerous people's lives in Southern Africa."