The 9th of August is celebrates as the National Women’s Day in South Africa. This day serves to commemorate the resilience and strength of South African women and the contribution they made to society and the country when in 1956 when more than 20 000 of them marched to the Union Buildings in protest against the extension of Pass Laws to women.

While we have been quite busy with out Wandering Conservation Fund behind the scenes, for Women’s day this year we are excited to shine the light on Thornybush Community Internship program for 2023 which assist passionate young women wanting to develop a career in tourism. Since 2009 Thornybush Community and the South African College for Tourism (SACT) came together to help place local and neighboring community matriculants of the Thornybush and Sabi Sabi surrounding area’s, into the tourism & hospitality industry.

Meet the Class of 2022

Key to the success of the program has been Thornybush Community’s role in the successful identification of local candidates that have a flair and passion for tourism as well as the facilitation of targeted recruitment, including assisting with the application process and fundraising for a full 24 month SACT bursary and internship program; 12 months at SACT and 12 months internship for workplace skills development.

The internship program assists the SACT graduates to gain invaluable experience in a hands-on environment, giving them the chance to put into practice what they’ve learnt during their theoretical training.

“The internship program is a 24-month road we walk with each student, from recruitment, mentorship throughout their studies at the college, 12 month internship at one of the Thornybush Lodges (looking to expand to other lodges as well), and then the goal is to assist place them in employment” Candice Grover.

Experience is becoming a crucial factor for employers. It’s strongly advised that graduates take the opportunity to complete a period of work experience to ensure they have a competitive advantage over their peers; and that’s where an internship can make all the difference. Each graduate is specifically and carefully placed within the Thornybush lodges, taking into consideration their specialized areas and personal attributes. The candidates have an opportunity to cycle through various departments in their first 3 months, front of house, kitchen, housekeeping and food and beverage service to experience varied areas of the hospitality operation. The candidate is then placed in their area of specialization to further strengthen their skills.

As at 2022, 100% of 2021 SACT graduates have been employed within Thornybush Lodges or employed by nearby Safari industry partners.

Even though South African women and our beautiful safari industry are known for their resilience, COVID has changed the program and process quite considerably due to loss of funding; seeing however each graduate walk away with high recommendation and a wealth of knowledge and deep passion to work in the tourism industry, is just some of the reasons why we are choosing to support this program.

If you’d like to help us support this program and women in tourism with a donation, you can contact Candice Grover (Head of Community) on candice@thornybush.co.za or you can contact private guide Ale Olivieri on ale@wanderingthru.com for more.

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