While hard work and determination are key to success in the hospitality industry, access to education and opportunities is also a huge factor. The Peermont Hotel School, launched just two years ago, aims to upskill and empower young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in the Ekurhuleni community.

“With a youth unemployment rate of 38,2% recorded in the first quarter of 2018, there’s no denying that the growth and development of young South Africans belongs at the top of the country’s priority list, and businesses operating in SA play a key role in supporting this,” says Jenny Findlay, Trust Manager at Peermont.

The school is based at Emperors Palace in Ekurhuleni, Gauteng, and through equipping students with hospitality-related skills, it aims to boost their employability. We spoke to three of the graduates from Peermont Hotel School to find out more about them, their experience at the school and their advice to those who want to get into the industry.

Manelisi Ndlovu

Hailing from Kempton Park, Manelisi was offered a permanent position at the five-star D’oreale Grande hotel. This was down to his dedication and willingness to learn, which impressed his teachers as well as the Emperors Palace management.

What led you to study at the Peermont School? PHS came to my high school and one of the lectures came to us and told us about the school that is how I got interested in hospitality.

What is your position at the D’oreale Grande hotel and can you tell us a little bit about your experience there? I started at reception now I am, at the front desk as a S.T.O Consultant, were I consult and also sell the hotel and available packages up for offer.

What would advice would you give to young people who want to work in hotels? Working in hospitality will let you grow up very fast as you need a certain level of maturity. You need to be honest and willing to work outside your comfort zone

Noko Tselana

Not only was Noko, who comes from Tembisa, the highest scoring learner in the School’s housekeeping department, but she was also awarded the City and Guild top student award. She currently works as an administration assistant at PHS.

What advice can you give to hospitality students? Hospitality is a big industry with a lot of opportunities, the only thing that a person must have is the passion for hospitality and set a right attitude towards it, in order to achieve what they want in the industry.

What were some of the motivations that drove you to become the top student? What motivated me to become a top student is that I have set some life goals for myself and I want to achieve all of them in the next coming years. I want to see myself as a hotel manager one day so I want to reach these goals. And one other thing is that being a top student is in my nature since a young age, I always make sure that I come out on top

What led you to study at the Peermont Hotel School? Peermont is giving young people opportunities to express themselves towards what they want to become. And I also want to express myself and grow within the industry.

What do you most enjoy about your current role at the school? I enjoy interacting with different kinds of people every day and giving them the correct information that they enquired about.

Melusi Maseko

Melusi from Phumula realised his love for the art of coffee-making during his time at the school. He now manages his own Seattle Coffee Company store in Bedfordview.

What led to your studies at the Peermont Hotel School? The industry interested me ever since I was in high school

What were your motivations behind going into a career in coffee and what are some of the highlights of your current position? My motivation in becoming a barista was the fact that, I get to make different types of coffees and create different types of designs with them.  My highlight is that reaction from the customer when they enjoy my coffee creation

What advice would you give to those who want to get into the hospitality industry? “Never give up even when it gets hard the end result is always the best feeling”

What has been the hardest part of your study and career journey so far? The hardest part is when I disappoint myself and the customer with the product I produce but it always helps me to do better next try.”