Siphosethu Ngotyi is a single mother of one from Kayamandi, working part time as a waitress at the Amazink restaurant in her area. As an active community member, she also serves as the team leader of Her Voice, an organisation in Kayamandi that supports young single mothers in the Stellenbosch area.

“I was sitting at home without an opportunity and I didn’t know what to do,” Ngotyi shares. “I used to be so depressed.” When she heard about the opportunity at Bergzicht Training and Development & Development through a friend, the tide began to turn. Although it took time to get used to the hard work, she enjoyed learning immensely.

With the help of STIAS-Stellenbosch, Ngotyi successfully completed her work-integrated learning (WIL) at Catering Unlimited. She was offered a three-month contract in October 2021. Three months later, she embarked on her 12-month Learnership at Lanzerac Wine Estate.

Lanzerac Executive Chef Stephen says they are very happy with Siphosethu’s work. “She’s innovative, enthusiastic and reliable.” They particularly appreciate her swiftness in adapting to the work environment, outshining general student shyness in getting involved from the start. Impressed by her work ethic, they recently promoted her to a paid position.

Siphosethu plans to accomplish her dream of opening her own bakery and/or patisserie business within the next two years at Stellenbosch’s Co-Create Hub.

“Bergzicht Training and Development & Development opened doors for me. I am excited and proud of myself! Before I struggled but now I see the light,” Ngotyi says. “When things go hard, we still get to determine the direction of what we do.”

Bergzicht Training and Development & Development’s Cathsseta-accredited Food Service Assistant Programme equips students with a hospitality qualification. In partnership with the Chefs Training & Innovation Academy (CTIA Stellenbosch Campus), this 10-week programme consists of seven weeks of theoretical and practical training, followed by a three-week WIL opportunity at a range of hospitality and tourism organisations.

Students are often placed in well-known restaurants, guest houses, hotels and at wine estates as professionally trained waitrons, cooks, kitchen assistants and assistant chefs in the hospitality and tourism industries.