Franschhoek Academy is bringing hope to our communities

Friday, 10 May, 2019
Cape Wine Academy
As many people know, living or spending time in the Cape Winelands comes with many wonderful perks that are available to us on our doorsteps, like sipping on some of South Africa’s finest wines and dining at award winning restaurants,all while gazing over the most eye-catching views of the mountains, vineyards and the beautiful sunsets that surround us.

However, among all this beauty is a dire need for trained and skilled professionals to provide the services that keep our tourism industry alive and our valley at the forefront of the minds of our local and international visitors. However, there simply aren’t enough skilled students available. To maintain the high level of service on and to increase the number of visitors to the winelands, there should be a focus on local youth upliftment and skills development within the hospitality industry. There should be affordable training made available to the locals, to ensure an increase in employment opportunities as well as a brighter future and this is exactly what the Franschhoek Hospitality Academy & Learning Centre (FHALC), a registered NPO and PBO, is successfully achieving.

The Academy started its journey 2018 with 20 historically disadvantaged students from local communities, providing an almost free hospitality training program. The first pilot class of 2018 has become well-known, in the valley, as Change4Twenty. After 12 challenging months, comprising of 8 months in-classroom learning and a 4-month internship, 16 motivated and passionate students successfully graduated from the training program and are now permanently employed by local establishments.

The areas in which they focus on are exactly those in which employment can be achieved and where the need is, such as: Soft Skills, Leadership, how to prepare a CV and Ace an interview, Front Office, Customer Service, becoming a Barista, Housekeeping, F&B Service Standards, Basic Cooking, Front of House and Wine Service. The Academy has partnered up with well-known training institutions like the Cape Wine Academy, Lobster Ink and the Clothing Bank to gain support with the valuable information and training curriculums used to teach their students.

“The Cape Wine Academy is delighted to work with the FHALC on this social upliftment project. The passion and eagerness of the candidates is very evident when you meet them. What is also encouraging is that there was an 80% graduation for 2018 cohort with all candidates currently employed or furthering their studies.” Harry Melck, CWA Head.

Two of the students from their Class of 2018, Babalo and Jodine, were lucky enough to receive a full bursary &boarding to further their studies at the International College of Tourism and Management (ITM) in Austria for 2 years. While the transition of living in another country that speaks a foreign language came with many challenges, they have settled in well and thoroughly enjoying themselves and the snowy white winters. Not only have they received a once in a lifetime opportunity from the Academy, but they will also receive an internationally recognised diploma that will open doors for them all over the world. When they return to South Africa one day, they will bring worldly hospitality knowledge and skills back with them which will benefit their families, peers and our establishments!

FHALC is growing from strength to strength and has many exciting opportunities on the rise.Not only has their second class of 21 Students started the 2019 year with great enthusiasm, the Academy is now also working on establishing their own dedicated space to run all of their operations.

The positive impact that the Academy and all the Partners, Funders and Supporters is having on the students, is changing the lives of so many others in the valley too, but as with any social development project, they need support in order to assist them in continuing in their efforts of decreasing the poverty cycle. They are calling out to local Individuals, Establishments and Companies to invest in the future of our Youth and Tourism Sector by funding a Student’s education for a year for R5000 p/m, or to add them as a beneficiary of your MySchool Card. If you would like to find out more visit or follow their journey on Facebook/Instagram: @FranschhoekHospitality.

#wineforgood - There are plenty of good news stories about upliftment and transformation in the South African Wine Industry. The #wineforgood website, launched by in 2016, hosts all the positive stories from the winelands.