February 24, 2024

Empowering youth through the YES Hospitality Programme

3 min read

The Houghton Hotel, a 5-star urban resort in Johannesburg renowned for its commitment to excellence in hospitality, proudly continues its ongoing partnership with Afrika Tikkun to offer the Youth Employment Services (YES) Hospitality programme. Since its inception in 2019, the initiative has provided invaluable opportunities for 88 young individuals to gain hands-on experience in the hospitality industry – fostering growth and creating pathways to sustainable employment.

The YES Hospitality programme is a collaborative effort between The Houghton Hotel and Afrika Tikkun, a prominent non-profit organisation dedicated to empowering youth in underprivileged communities across South Africa. The programme aims to equip young individuals through industry-specific specialised training with practical skills and knowledge essential for a successful career in the dynamic world of hospitality.

“Our commitment to this work-readiness programme in collaboration with Afrika Tikkun seeks to dispel any apprehension and nurture self-assurance among the 21 to 35-year-olds in our community. The effects of our efforts transcend the boundaries of both workplaces and homes, as we establish foundational support systems that bolster confidence, promote social betterment, offer learnerships and provide introductory work exposure. These initiatives serve as the keys that unlock the path to an autonomous and economically empowered life,” says Jaco Minnaar, CEO of The Houghton Hotel.

Phatudi Motaung, HR manager at The Houghton Hotel, comments on the life-changing experience the programme offers: “The YES Hospitality programme is a great opportunity to acquire new skills and develop a career path that the successful candidates wouldn’t otherwise have been able to. Since its inception, the YES Hospitality programme has welcomed around 88 students, providing them with the chance to receive comprehensive training within the hospitality industry.”

Each year, 20 carefully selected students are given the unique opportunity to spend 12 months at The Houghton Hotel, where they undergo immersive training across various departments including front office, spa, finance/procurement, F&B, maintenance and HR admin. The rotational approach enables students to gain a holistic understanding of the different facets of the hospitality business.

Motaung further explains, “The programme at The Houghton Hotel is an enriching journey for participants. The exposure and training they receive within the diverse departments not only enhance their skills but also provide them with a strong foundation for a successful career in hospitality.”

The sweet taste of Success Stories

The YES Hospitality programme’s commitment to youth empowerment extends beyond the confines of The Houghton Hotel. Mukundi Mphohoni, a standout participant of the programme, is a prime example. After completing the YES programme and gaining invaluable insights from placements in the finance and procurement departments, she founded Sweet Remedies. Her innovative business, established in July 2021, specialises in supplying sweets for hotels (including The Houghton Hotel, where her business is based), parties, events, gifting and personal enjoyment. Her journey exemplifies the transformative impact of the YES Hospitality programme on young entrepreneurs.

Mukundi shares: “The YES programme played a crucial role in refining my business acumen and skills, enabling me to run my business both within and beyond the hotel sector.”

The Houghton Hotel and Afrika Tikkun remain steadfast in their commitment to nurturing young talent and facilitating lasting change within the hospitality sector and beyond.

As part of the programme’s application process, aspiring candidates can apply through the Afrika Tikkun website or visit Afrika Tikkun Centres in Alexandra, Orange Farm, Braamfontein, Diepsloot and Mfuleni for inquiries and applications.

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