With the recent spate of deaths from Listeriosis, food hygiene has been a hot topic among South Africans. Twenty learners from Bloemfontein and Kimberly, who participated in the National Food Safety Assurers Youth Training Programme, recently graduated at a ceremony held at the Dr Petrus Molemela Stadium’s Indoor Sports Centre.
The ceremony was officiated by Tourism Minister, Derek Hanekom, and was a collaboration between the Department of Tourism and the Free State province. Learners received Food and Beverage Seta (Foodbev Seta) accredited certificates in NQF level qualification in the practices related to the manufacturing, storage and processing of food in the hospitality industry, making them qualified food safety quality assurers.
FS Destea HOD, Dr Mbulelo Nokwequ, congratulated the graduates on their new and vital skills, adding that they should spread the knowledge of food hygiene to the community and popular food vendors.
Speaking on behalf of the students, Moipone Hlole from Bloemfontein said that when she heard about the opportunity being offered for learners in the province from a friend, she did not hesitate to apply. She added that she and her fellow peers hope to make a positive impact in the two provinces and on the country’s tourism industry.
Congratulating the learners, Minister Hanekom said: “This is the beginning of a lifelong journey, you are now graduating into the world of work.” He also stressed the importance of their newly acquired skills. “It is not just about looking after tourists, it is also about looking after their health.”
Following the graduation ceremony, an imbizo was held affording the minister and executives from Mangaung Metro the opportunity to engage with the community on tourism opportunities that are available for the youth, women and entrepreneurs.
Hanekom concluded with a few words of encouragement: “Tourism is a growing sector, you are going to be a part it. Be great, be the embodiment of excellence.”