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13 November 2012

Tourism department launches Sommelier Training Programme

Following the successful launch and implementation of the Department of Tourism’s National Youth Chefs Training Programme, the department has now launched the Sommelier Training Programme.

Waiter serves wine and chocolate at Waterford Estate, Stellenbosch Service excellence, key to growing tourism in South Africa

It is well known that the private sector bears the major risks of tourism investment, as well as a large part of the responsibility to satisfy tourists.

The Sommelier Training Programme, which was launched by Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk at La Motte Wine Estate in Franschhoek on 12 November 2012, aims to develop young people as sommeliers to address the shortage of skilled sommeliers in South Africa.

The National Department of Tourism (NDT) has invested R11-million in the Sommelier Training Programme, and in partnership with the Cape Wine Academy, will offer a 12-month training programme to 200 unemployed youth between the ages of 18 and 32.

Van Schalkwyk said he was delighted to note that the Cape Wine Academy had signed up some of the best hospitality lecturers, including wine experts, Lizette Tolken and Derek Ramsden.

'This will ensure the students get the best education to enable them to compete professionally anywhere in South Africa and the world,’ he said.

The sommelier programme forms part of the broader perspective of the National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS), which addresses the need for job creation and economic growth. The NDT is committed, through its social responsibility programme, to facilitating skills development that will benefit the local hospitality industry. The training programme comprises 4 6-week practical work segments in the wine industry.

For the 1st practical, which has now been completed, a host of distributors and wholesalers that included the likes of Distell, Vinimark, Wine Logistics, Spier, Beyerskoof, Delheim and Simonsig took in learners. These practicals also include front-of-house training in restaurants, retail outlets and hotels such as Southern Sun, Ultra Liquors, Spar, Shoprite Checkers, The Butcher Shop & Grill and The Baron Group.

Van Schalkwyk appealed to the private sector to support and enhance the NDT’s programmes and thanked them for the important role they have played in the development and promotion of tourism.

'It is well known that the private sector bears the major risks of tourism investment, as well as a large part of the responsibility to satisfy tourists. Through its training programmes, government is committed to encouraging the further growth, development and profitability of the tourism private sector. It aims to do this by providing already-trained staff, such as these sommeliers, who are immediately able to fulfill a productive role in the hospitality sector,' he concluded.