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Young chefs turn their passion into a career

Written by Noluthando Motswai
When Zamalotshwa Gama from KwaZulu-Natal completed matric she had no prospects of studying further due to a lack of funds.

She has always been passionate about the hospitality industry and her dream was to become a chef.

Gama’s life changed when she heard about the National Youth Chefs Training Programme (NYCTP).

The Department of Tourism and the South African Chefs Association runs the programme, which targets young people between the ages of 18 and 35.

NYCTP was created to address the urgent need for cooks and chefs in South Africa’s growing hospitality industry.

This programme is also part of the Expanded Public Works Programme as an initiative to fund skills development projects to create employment.

“Being part of NYCTP has been an amazing journey. It all started in 2012 … this day … I am enjoying the journey. Most of us couldn't afford tertiary fees but today we are graduates with diplomas and advanced diplomas,” Gama said at her graduation ceremony, held in KwaZulu-Natal recently.

Gama’s highlight was when she went to the United States of America for her internship.

“I wouldn't have done this without the support of NYCTP,” she said, adding that graduating was not the end but the beginning of great things.

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