A foot in the restaurant door – training opportunities available now

Getting a start in the exciting world of restaurants and hospitality can be tough but a wonderful adventure. Here are several top spots around the country that accept internships, learnerships and other opportunities for training on the job. 

Sun International

The resort hotel chain responsible for the likes of Sun City and the Wild Coast Sun has two learnerships on offer that run for a year and qualify you for a National Qualifications Framework Level 4 qualification. 

The National Certificate in Food & Beverage Services focuses on skills such as providing a drinks, table and buffet service, organising events, and maintaining customer satisfaction. The National Certificate in Professional Cooking focuses on preparing and cooking various foods in the hotel and restaurant environment. 

Learners spend one week a month learning directly and then apply this in the kitchen for the rest of the month under the professional eye of a chosen mentor. 

The learnerships cost around R24,000 and R45,000 respectively. They are advertised on internal notice boards for existing staff, but external applicants should keep their eyes on the Sun International website recruitment portal, or reach out to the specific unit in their province.

Verna Robson, Sun International Group’s Director of Human Resources, says the learnerships contribute enormously to the company on many levels. For existing employees they are a way to grow within the group and industry. “For unemployed learners, it is a year of employment and learning, with a stipend paid by the company, in which they can learn a set of new skills, and the qualification should open up job opportunities for them.”


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Chefs Warehouse 

The Mark Mabotya internship is an intensive course that rotates candidates between restaurants like Maison in Franschhoek and Thali in Cape Town. 

Over the course of four years, the future chefs will learn cooking skills and theory, as well as business and life skills under the expert influence of chefs such as Ivor Jones and David Schneider. The curriculum includes seasonal gardening, wine appreciation and basic dietary knowledge. 

Founder and restaurateur of Chefs Warehouse Liam Tomlin explains that this apprenticeship is aimed at those who are not able to afford to pay for culinary school. “We will work to balance the scales of privilege and opportunity in food education and careers in our industry,” he says. 

After completing the internship, participants can apply to work for any of the restaurants under the Chefs Warehouse umbrella. They will also leave with a portfolio and references. 

Internships do not cost anything and include a basic salary as well as various work gear. The programme is open for 12 new interns yearly and applications for 2022 are currently open. Click here to apply for the Mark Mbotya internship.

The Royal Portfolio 

The Royal Portfolio Culinary Internship Programme (TRP CIP) is offered to two candidates a year and runs for four years at restaurants such as The Silo Hotel. It includes a part-time enrolment in a programme at the South African Chefs Academy.

Interns rotate through various sections of the restaurant, making them highly competent across various spaces. The theoretical part will cover safety, hygiene and budgets as they relate to the kitchen environment. The final year includes a certificate course in professional pastry making. 

“Training is given at a number of our properties, each in a unique location,” says Veronica Canha-Hibbert, the Executive Chef of The Silo Hotel. “The culinary interns will have a diverse knowledge base to draw from and will be equipped with both operational and supervisory level experience.”

Candidates receive a salary and benefits. Afterwards, they will have an internationally recognised qualification. The next programme begins at the end of next year, with an application deadline of June 2022. Applicants must have a Matric qualification. Find out more about the Royal Portfolio Culinary Internship Programme here.


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