The SW Africa team had a wonderful privilege to go out for lunch at Peermont Hotel School at Emperors Palace in Kempton Park. We arrived at the school and were welcomed by our ex-colleague Alex, who is now teaching house-keeping at the school. Alex invited us to the school as so-called ‘test eaters’. I could tell that Alex is very passionate about her work as she was whizzing around the tables to ensure that everything is perfect and everyone is happy.
Peermont Hotel School is a skills-based training centre that gives underprivileged youth an opportunity and platform to establish a career in the Hospitality and Tourism industry. The school opened on the 3rd of May 2016 and it is proudly supported by the Metropolitan Municipality of Ekurhuleni and of course the Peermont Hotel Group.
The Peermont Community Benefits Trust (PCBT) in collaboration with service provider Celo, established the school with the aim of combating poverty, by providing skills training, and creating jobs and making a positive contribution towards the tourism and hospitality industry. The school is located at Emperors Palace and it offers skills proficiency certificates to chefs, waiters, and housekeepers.
Whilst the school is still expanding the ambient, colours on the walls, the table and decorations are very interesting and intriguing. There was some cool music playing softly in the background. The school has a nice niche bar that is a 100 years old with amazing woodwork.
The trainee waiters were radiant with smiles on their faces, welcomed us, took orders served us with utmost courtesy. The way things are so well organized, it’s hard to believe, that the school just opened and the ‘staff-trainees’ have just completed their respective chefs and waiters courses. This was also a wonderful opportunity for us as colleagues to get to know each other outside of the work and spend a relaxing few hours. Two of our agents from Denmark, who had attended our educational trip to Kwa-Zulu Natal, Durban the week before, joined us for this interesting experience.
They have extended their trip so that they could see a bit more of South Africa.
I was intrigued when listening to them as they shared their experience with us on how they are enjoying being in Southern Africa. It was like a big family gathering as we were all in togetherness, happiness and at ease.
Without any waste of time, we received our meals and our table was served.
I ordered the sirloin steak and samp with sautéed green beans, it was well cooked, tasty and so delicious.
Everyone enjoyed their food very much and after the main course, the dessert was ordered. There were a variety of desserts to choose from, from chocolate mousse to strawberry Pavlova with lemon curd and a peach sorbet for those that wanted something light and fresh. These trainees are well trained and are doing an excellent job!
After the lunch, Alex took us on a site inspection through the school. We met the Head Chef Lian and he explained to us, what his role at the school was and the processes in place training these young adults. Lian also showed us that while he is teaching the students it is recorded on all the televisions in the restaurant so that everyone can see how it is done.
Behind the kitchen, is where all the hard work and learning process starts. Learners choose to enrol in 3 different categories – housekeeping, training as a waiter, or as a chef i.e. the key areas of training required by the hospitality industry. The learners are not just being exposed to practical work but also have to attend theory lectures and write a final test. There is a mock-up room where the housekeeping trainees do their practical work. Every avenue is covered to make sure they know what is expected of them when they leave the school and to practice because practice makes perfect.
The Peermont Hotels, then act as the first base of applying what was learned by providing the learners with a few weeks and months of practical training.
We then met Annelise from the Peermont Hotel group for a whirl-wind site inspection of the hotels and convention centre at Emperors Palace. There are 4 hotels on this property – two 3 Star, one 4 stars and one 5 star hotel. We could not view any rooms as all the hotels were fully booked but we were fortunate enough to see the rest of the hotel, restaurants, and spas. We also went to the convention centre that was once known as the World Trade Centre in South Africa, something to see when you are there.
This is a wonderful destination as a stopover on your way into South Africa having to overnight in Johannesburg before flying out again the following day to one of our neighbouring countries. With the different category of hotels, the amazing restaurants and also with the casino at your doorstep, you have a variety of activities to choose from to make your stay as enjoyable as possible.
Author: Gustav Morata
Digital Marketing Assistant
SW Africa Destination Management.