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14 March 2022 Media Release: Garden Route DM reaches a decade of ongoing support for Cater Care Students

Media Release: Garden Route DM reaches a decade of ongoing support for Cater Care Students

For Immediate Release
14 March 2022

“Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle.”Christian D. Larson NEW THOUGHT LEADER

Twenty-one (21) students who formed part of the 2nd intake of the current three-year (2020 till 2023­) Francois Ferreira Academy (FFA) Cater Care Programme were recently honoured for successfully completing the course. Their intake was on 7 September 2021.

The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) appointed the Francois Ferreira Academy for three (3) years through a formal tender process as the service provider to roll out the Cater Care Programme. The GRDM Council has once again approved R450 000.00 for the 2021/2022 financial year towards this programme.

The GRDM Cater Care Training Programme is a partnership between GRDM and the FFA. It provides training and ensures that students are placed in hospitality establishments to gain practical work experience during their studies. This partnership started ten (10) years ago, with ABSA Bank being the primary sponsor; however, the GRDM is now solely responsible for funding this Programme.

The Programme also aims to train previously disadvantaged youth in the hospitality sector. As a result of this program, unemployed and impoverished youth have gained culinary skills to help them secure employment in the hospitality and tourism industries.

During an official certificate handover ceremony held on 10 February 2022, Veronica Mekile, Project Administrator and Life-skills Facilitator, provided a brief overview of the course. What stood out from her speech was the joy and satisfaction the FFA team experiences when they observe a student’s progress. She also shared that the Cater Care course at FFA is more than just about cooking – they added a life skills section to the course too. This helps to build students’ self-esteem and confidence and helps mould positive attitudes.


During the welcoming, a very proud GRDM Executive Manager of Planning and Economic Development, Lusanda Menze expressed his gratitude and said that he always looks forward to attending these life-changing ceremonies. “Listening to the testimonies today is an example of what we come up with when we sit in our offices and think it is a miniature contribution from the municipality, but during these kinds of events, we witness how our ideas shape the lives of people.” He referred to the Statistics SA unemployment rate, which found more than 60% of youth are unemployed, including people with university degrees and diplomas.  This course is important because several young people are absorbed into the job market or start their own businesses,” Menze said.


Adv. Gert van Niekerk confirmed that the GRDM had committed itself to the Cater Care Programme for the 2021/22 financial year and that it will strive to continue to make a positive impact in the lives of the communities. He congratulated and thanked the FFA for their remarkable job in training, development, and alleviation of poverty and unemployment in the district.  Adv. van Niekerk said that this programme would not have been successful without their hard work, dedication, and commitment.

He congratulated the students with the following words, “We as the Garden Route District Municipal Council wish you well with your future plans; we hope you will be successful in everything you do, and we are very proud of you”.  He concluded his address by encouraging the students with words a mentor shared with him years ago when he was on the verge of receiving his qualification – “To achieve what you have achieved is the easy part. Dedication, study, practice and determination brought you here, where you received your diploma as recognition today. Now comes the difficult part; to be worthy of that diploma. In the years to come, wherever life may take you, be worthy of this day. You’ve worked hard for it; you deserve it, now it is in your hands. I do trust that you will do as such,” he said.

The ceremony was complemented by the following remarks from Chef François Ferreira, “This may be regarded by some only as a skill qualification, but the action goes far beyond it.  You have specific skills, and it is in your hands to decide how to use them. You can prepare food at home or start your own business. A variety of programmes are available to help young entrepreneurs get started. It is entirely up to you!”

The success of this flagship programme is as follows:

  • Cater Care – 89% success rate in placing learners in sustainable jobs;
  • 70% of learners placed on a career path by qualifying for NYCTP course; and
  • Some learners have already finished their Diploma in Food Preparation and Patisserie.

As GRDM, we are proud to acknowledge that more than 200 individuals have successfully completed training through this programme over the past decade.