The training arm of the Grootbos Foundation, the Green Futures training college provides vocational training programmes in indigenous horticulture, guiding and hospitality to adults from the surrounding semi-rural communities where access to further education opportunities and skills development are rare. Recruits are drawn from the local communities of Masakhane, Blompark and Stanford and provide skills assisting recruits in becoming more employable and improving their quality of life. The training college is an integral part of the Grootbos Foundation’s ethos of the creation of sustainable livelihoods.
Sisanda, from Masakhane recently started the six-month hospitality course. One month into her six-month course Sisanda, one of the recent recruits confesses to loving every minute of it. She had been frustrated after attaining matric as she had no access to tertiary education, skills development, nor were any employment opportunities available.
Sisanda heard of the hospitality programme word of mouth and put her application in at the local library. She was particularly impressed the course made provision for a stipend to support students whilst they are studying. A pool of 120 candidates, were initially whittled down to a short list of twenty and from there only eight candidates were ultimately chosen. Sisanda considers herself one of the lucky ones to be chosen.
A month into the programme, Sisanda admits to initially being intimidated by the teachers and other students, “I was a bit scared in the beginning, but now I am among friends”. She enthusiastically explains that she is not only learning about hospitality, she is learning valuable computer skills and is learning the nuances of engaging with people from different communities and cultures.
The hospitality course has sparked Sisanda’s dreams and ambitions and Sisanda’s dream now is to make it to a hotel in Dubai one day!