The Cresta Marakanelo Group of Hotels this week held the first Cresta graduation ceremony for their nine employees who had just finished their Diplomas in Culinary Arts from one of South Africa’s leading Chef Training Providers called Hospitality Trainers and Associates.
“The Group has spent an amount of P450 000 in sponsoring these nine employees for this three-year Diploma course because, at Cresta Marakanelo, we recognize that training and development of employees is an investment and not a cost,” said the Head of Sales & Marketing for Cresta Marakanelo Group, Patrick Chivese, adding that they are committed to the development of their employees and the fullest possible use of their talents as an effective use of their most important resource.
He stated that as far as training and development function is concerned in Marakanelo, this is just the tip of the ice bag. Throughout the whole group, he said, they continue to offer various training and mentoring programmes that are aimed at helping the company to succeed in a globalised environment.
“This graduation is more than just issuing certificates; it is about contributing to the initiative of the government to use the tourism industry as an avenue for diversifying the economy of the country,” he highlighted.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Botswana Training Authority (BOTA), Abel Modungwa, revealed that Cresta Marakanelo Hotels are the only Hotels in Botswana that have been registered with BOTA under the vocational training Act No 22 of 1988.
“I’m also happy to note that Cresta Marakanelo is already engaged in structured work place learning,” he stated.
Modungwa said that one of Cresta Marakanelo’s challenges in maintaining a progressive localization plan for executive chef positions is the shortage of culinary skills among locals, a skill that is critical in the hospitality industry. He emphasized that the culinary profession is not really a preferred one among the youth, at least compared to finance and accounting, engineering, law and medical professions.
“It is, therefore, plausible that a company such as Cresta Marakanelo has initiated to address a national skills gap,” he said.
Addressing the graduates, Modungwa urged them to be heroes and heroines of their lives, not victims.
“Cresta has laid a good and solid foundation for your future. What you do with it is up to you,” he stated, adding that the Diplomas they had acquired were a life rehearsal, and life is in their hands.
He appealed to the graduates to reflect on the efforts that they had put in getting these Diplomas, and further decide on what efforts they were going to engage in getting the same Diplomas to work for them. “Always remember that your career paths at Cresta are a shared responsibility between you and Cresta,” he concluded.
Speaking on behalf of the graduates, Melissa Ngoni, who was beaming with joy, explained that though this was a long journey that needed dedication, commitment as well as adaptation of other cultures, they managed to go through it and it was worthwhile.
Ngoni said that Cresta had realized a need that chefs were a scarce commodity; therefore, it was a challenge that they should within the organization breed their own chefs to bridge the gab so as to have a pool of qualified chefs to take over responsibilities as soon as they were available.
“We would like to thank Cresta Marakanelo for having afforded us this opportunity. We hope this will be a step in the right direction and we would want to see more and more people being offered the same opportunities to go and study.”