2010 Winner
Grahamstown, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Impumelelo Social Innovations Centre
Impumelelo Social Innovations Centre
South Africa

This program earned a Certificate award.


The hospitality industry is constantly increasing in size, reach and capacity – however, the industry faces a shortage of trained hospitality staff; while many people in South Africa do not have access to hospitality training, due to a lack of resources. The Hospitality Youth Initiative (previously St Aidan’s Project) was established in 1998, and adapted in 2006, to provide training in hospitality to disadvantaged and at-youth risk. In 2008, the “Hospitality Skills for 2010” project was launched, with the aim of training 100 youth per year in hospitality. The programme includes three phases: phase 1 is a one-month residential-based course (full board and lodging) involving a combination of life-skills training (attitudinal training; HIV/AIDS and Environmental Awarenes; self discovery, work ethic, communication), and a Hospitality Orientation course. Phase 2 is a 6-week project focusing on a particular aspect of the hospitality industry; and Phase 3 is a supervised and mentored 3-month internship at a graded hotel. The course focuses on children who are at-risk, and who would not otherwise have access to such training. This includes school drop-outs, street youth, those who have admitted to drug use, those from single parent families with unemployed mothers, and with fathers in prison. The training is all provided free of charge. Because the hospitality industry is more of an ongoing learning environment, with significant on-the-job training, it is less crucial for employees to have university or technikon degrees or diplomas. Thus, the practical component is more important for employment opportunities.








Innovation: The project provides intensive, practical training including a 3-month internship, significantly improving the learners’ chances of finding employment after completion of the programme.








Effectiveness: More than 2000 learners have completed the course; and 67% of these have gone on to find meaningful, long-term employment. The project was also awarded a certificate of Good Practice by UN Habitat.








Poverty Impact: It is estimated that each youth who is employed has an average of seven people who directly benefit from his/her employment. Thus, the youth obtaining employment makes a large impact on their families, beneficiaries etc. The project also helps to address shortages in trained hospitality staff.








Sustainability: By providing practical skills training, the project’s benefits to the learners are sustainable, as they are able to access long-term employment. The project receives funding from a wide range of donors; although the current project (“Hospitality Skills 2010”) is funded in the main by SSICI. Other funders are listed below. HYI also partners with a number of hotels who take the learners for their internship. The project has already been in operation for almost 10 years, with ongoing funding, and it therefore seems likely that this will continue into the future.




Replication: Because the hospitality industry is not one which necessarily requires tertiary level education, it provides opportunities for more informal and practical skills training programmes. This makes the project more easily replicable for smaller-scale groups. However, having accredited or established training programmes will give the project more credibility, and this may take some time to establish. This will also require funding and industry buy-in.