Young chefs before they left for the Seychelles through a programme run by the National Tourism department. Photo: Supplied.
The National Youth Chefs Training Programme is the result of a partnership between the National Department of Tourism (NDT) and the South African Chefs Association (SACA) to address the urgent need for cooks and chefs in South Africa’s growing hospitality industry. This programme forms part of the National Government’s Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) as an initiative to fund skills development projects to create employment.

The programme began in April 2011, enlisting 800 students in a platform that is designed to provide learners with both theoretical and practical training. The National Youth Chefs Training Programme (NYCTP) is facilitated by South African Chefs Association (SACA).  NYCTP is a dynamic, practical and important project that trains and develops previously unemployed youths between the ages of 18 and 35.
The programme runs in all nine provinces and 26 SACA-accredited culinary schools have taken an active part in the creation and success of NYCTP. In addition to the solid theoretical training, the students – in first, second and third year – gain valuable practical experience in restaurant, hotel and resort kitchens across the country. 
As a return on investment and with the objective of job creation, the Department chose to select graduate chefs from NYCTP. After a rigorous interview process, twenty chefs were selected to participate in a one year placement programme in Seychelles.

         The minister of Tourism Tokozile Xasa (center) with the 20 youth chefs that will be working in the Seychelles for a year at the farewell breakfast function that was held for them before they headed off. 

South Africa and Seychelles signed a tourism cooperation agreement in August 2013. The relationship between the two countries has been progressive; with the display of support for strategic tourism events, hosted in each country, and a shared vision for regional tourism development and integration. This cooperation agreement has also facilitated institutional agreements between South African and Seychellois tourism institutions adding depth to this country-to-country commitment.

The tourism cooperation agreement emphasises focus on capacity building initiatives towards the development of the tourism sectors in both countries. In response to this, numerous engagements have taken place between South African and Seychellois tourism and hospitality institutions.