The Northern Cape’s Economic Development and Tourism MEC, Maruping Lekwene, unveiled the province’s leg of the National Tourism Monitors Programme at the Teachers Centre in Kimberley during the month of June.
Following the three week programme, 51 unemployed young people drawn from all over the province are to be placed at tourist hot spots across the five districts in the Northern Cape.
“They are to ensure that tourists are safe. They will also be working closely with the police. We are looking to expand into renewable energy and tourism whilst focusing on transforming the wildlife industry. It is important that they understand the industry, hence why we these programmes are being implemented. This is all in an attempt to better tourism in the Northern Cape,” said MEC Lekwene Maruping.
With tourism having been identified to assist in the reduction of poverty and unemployment, MEC Maruping emphasized the focus on involving the youth in this initiative.
“What is key is for the province and for me as MEC is the upskilling and reskilling of our young people. When you listen to various economists and scholars they tell you that our challenge in South Africa is the fact that so many youth are not being adequately utilized. We must prevent that the explosion of frustrated youth by including them in the initiatives that we are doing in the Northern Cape. Creating skilled tourism monitors is one of them.”
Shaniise Theron from Steynkopf is one of the 50 beneficiaries of the programme and will be placed at one of the 15 tourist attraction sites identified for the programme.
“I am happy about this opportunity. I have learned a lot. I am also glad that the MEC has given us hope about opening up other avenues in tourism which will bring about more opportunities,” exclaimed Shaniise.
The learners were given an opportunity to come to class where they dealt with customer service training, equivalent to NQF Level 4 which is a SETA accredited training. They will also have a volunteer safety monitor certificate. They will be receiving a stipend for the next 12 months and will be monitored to ensure that they are working closely with the police force.
Another partner to the programme is the department’s entity, the Northern Cape Tourism Authority (NCTA). The entity’s Chief Executive Officer, Sharron Lewis also graced the occasion. The programme is also linked with the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP).