Twelve Bergzicht Training beneficiaries recently graduated with Cathsseta accredited certificates in food service assistant and food and beverage service thanks to yet another generous donation by Distell to Bergzicht Training.

Distell has sponsored many beneficiaries over the years since it first donated money for the training of individuals in the Cater Care Programme (now called the Cathsseta Food Service Assistant and Food and Beverage Service Programme) in 2007.

“In the 11 years of working closely with the Bergzicht team, it is evident that integrity, passion and enthusiasm are the driving forces to their success. Their sustained success is rooted in their continuous reflection on their strategy and positioning in the communities of Stellenbosch.,” said Gerhard Claassens, CSI Controller from Distell.

He encouraged the graduates to tap into their creativity when working in the hospitality industry.

“Creativity is a calling, an intuition and a truth that resides in you. There is a vitality, a life source, an energy, a quickening that is translated from you into what you do. This expression is unique,” he added as he quoted businesswoman Martha Stewart.

Amongst the 12 students to receive their certificate on the day was Berenice Arendse.

“I have learned a lot during this programme, from life skills to how to work in a kitchen. Sometimes it was hard, but today I feel grateful to stand here and to know that I have finished this course,” said Arendse, who completed the programme’s work-integrated learning opportunity at Fedics at Metanoia Residence at Stellenbosch University.

“I therefore want to say thank you to Bergzicht Training, The Private Hotel School and the sponsor [of the programme], Distell, who made this opportunity possible for us to enhance our lives.”

The students were also congratulated by Ms Annetjie van Breukelen, Project Manager: Fedics Sanlam, who had overseen the practical training of one of the graduates.

“I’ve been working in the hospitality industry for a very long time and I’ve come across amazing people. What I have learned in this industry, is that it’s not about who you know, it’s about who remembers you.”

“The students who come to us face many challenges – from gun shootings to taxi violence and social challenges – but through it all they show up. This is a work ethic that is instilled by Bergzicht Training and that the students demonstrate through their work ethic, the energy and enthusiasm they bring to the workplace and their ability to easily fit into a team. When we are looking to employ people, we know to go to Bergzicht Training for good employees.”

Van Breukelen told the group about a Bergzicht Training graduate who had worked for Fedics Sanlam who had suddenly resigned one day.

“I was concerned and wanted to know why he had resigned,” she says. “Eventually I learned that he was going to do another course to further his skills. So what does that tell me about Bergzicht Training? It tells me that they not only train their students for the job they have now, but instill in them a desire to want more.”

After receiving their certificates, Ms Erika Viljoen, the Academic Manager at The Private Hotel School in Vlottenburg, Stellenbosch gave the graduates one last piece of advice.

“The hospitality industry is tough. So there will be times that you will struggle to find a way to persevere and where you will feel like giving up. But your ability to get through something, this is what makes the victories so much sweeter. When things get hard, remember that those are the times that you are being set up for success. So I want to tell you to look forward to the bad times and the hard times, because those are the times that are going to prepare you for your biggest success still.”

Photo: Twelve students completed the Cathsseta Food Service Assistant and Food and Beverage Service Programme recently thanks to another donation from Distell. At the back from the left are Gerhard Claassens from Distell, Jodene Hendricks, Olwethu Sibozo, Yandisa Sithetho, Andiswa Mvandaba, Vuyokazi Gonodo and Zama Gobingca. In the from the left are Amber De Koker, Ntombekhaya Malanzeni, Cengiwe Jizan,  Berenice Arendse and Sandy Bacela from Distell. (Lynne Rippenaar-Moses)