African Pride Hotels Pays it Forward

The African Pride Crystal Towers Hotel & Spa has begun a successful collaboration with Cape Town non-profit chefs’ school Infinity Culinary Training (ICT).  A total of seven students have to date been employed on a full time basis at the hotel.

ICT offers students from impoverished backgrounds the necessary training and skills for a career in the hospitality industry. Part of the 12-week curriculum involves on-the-job training in a working commercial kitchen for one month.

African Pride Crystal Towers Hotel & Spa Executive Chef Terrence Ford spearheaded the collaboration with ICT.

Having come from a background where I was unable to pay for tertiary education, I know better than most the transformative power of training programmes such as those offered by ICT. Being able to pay it forward and pass on the skills that I have to a new generation of youngsters is an honour for me.

Since the inception of the collaboration in February a total of 14 students have had the opportunity to work alongside, and learn from, Ford.

Mark Satterfield, the Chief Operating Officer, Marriott International Middle East and Africa Region commended Ford’s proactive stance.

There is no greater investment than that which we make in people and I’m delighted that this programme has already resulted in full-time employment for seven young South Africans who might not otherwise have had the opportunity to pursue a career in hospitality. 

Barry Berman, the Executive Director of ICT says this kind collaboration is vital to bridge the gap from poverty to employment.

It’s not always easy to find placements for these enthusiastic but inexperienced young chefs. Chef Terrence has really embraced and taken the principles of ICT into his heart. To get training in a five-star establishment of such solid repute is an incredible opportunity.

Ford said: “I do realise that we are giving these individuals an opportunity, but this is not a hand-out. We have high standards and in my kitchen everyone is trained to those standards. Skills can be taught though. Attitude can’t. The graduates from ICT that I have employed arrived with their enthusiasm and positive attitude already in place, so their transition from students to employees has been pretty smooth.”

Berman concludes: “In a developing economy such as South Africa it is absolutely vital that big business be prepared to work with youth who don’t have the means or access to tertiary or vocational training, especially when the end result is a win on both sides.”

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