Ending the month of June’s Youth Day celebrations, Stellenboschbased nongovernmental organisation (NGO) Bergzicht Training & Development celebrated the certification of its first Food Service Assistance (FSA) class of 2022 on Thursday, 29 June at the Chef’s Training
and Innovation Academy (CTIA) campus in Devon Valley.

Stellenbosch Municipality has awarded the threeyear Mayoral Youth Skills Development Programme tender to the NGO, availing funding to empower thirteen candidates with this recognised qualification. Bergzicht’s FSA programme is accredited by CATHSSETA and runs in partnership with the CTIA, presented at the accredited Stellemploykitchen. The 10week skills training programme is acknowledged by the local government as a valuable initiative to combat the high unemployment rate among local youth and tend to the need for skills development in the broader Stellenbosch area. “I am very passionate about this programme, as it is a way in which the municipality can directly and practically contribute towards skills development and job creation in our area,” said Stellenbosch Mayor, Gesie van Deventer. “We continuously strive towards creating opportunities for the youth to get them economically active.”

Renowned chef Bertus Basson encouraged the newly certified chefs to keep growing, emphasising the importance to “never stop growing and learning.” Benita Petersen, Training Manager at Bergzicht said the organisation offers holistic support by providing the platform for both personal development and technical training. “Many of the youth we are training come from hardships and due to the socioeconomic pressures they face they will not be able to lift themselves from poverty without support.”

FSA trainee Michael Titus from Cloetesville thanked Bergzicht for being “very supportive”, helping him to overcome challenging circumstances to become an entrepreneur. Fellow trainee Natasja Doko from Jonkershoek said, “This programme means a lot to me. It has pointed me straight to where I want to be. I have realised something new about myself, helping me to better my life.” Participant Nicole Smith from Cloetesville says, “My future plans include teaching young children how to make food and opening up a kitchen to keep children off the street.”

Social Worker Nathalie Skippers, Bergzicht’s Development Manager, says the organisation is also thankful for its placement partners for employment, such as renowned local wine farms Muratie and Boschendal. Petersen also expressed gratitude to private donor, Stellenbosch resident Erika Kok, who publicly thanked the organisation for “always delivering on their promise.” For more opportunities to sponsor training or partner for employment opportunities contact Skippers at employ@bergzicht.org.za.

MAIN PHOTO: From left to right: Stellenbosch Municipality Community Development Coordinator Portia Jansen, Bergzicht Training and Development and Development CEO Renske Minnaar, Local Sponsor and CEO of Global Accommodation Erika Kok, Bergzicht Training and Development and Development Facilitator Annetjie van Breukelen, Bergzicht Training and Development and Development board members Drs Hannes Koornof and Guin Lourens, Bergzicht Training and Development and Development Training Manager Benita Petersen and councillor Ralphton Adams of the Stellenbosch Municipality MayCo Member Sports, Culture and Youth with the FSA class of 2022 group at the certification ceremony last week.