June 16th marks 40 years since the Soweto uprising of the youth in 1976, and to commemorate this momentous day in history, June has been declared Youth Month. South Africa’s most empowered JSE listed company, the Oceana Group are taking this opportunity to focus their attention on an enterprise development campaign aimed at empowering the youth through the sponsorship of the Lucky Star Caterers Academy 2016.

Now in its third successful year, the Asi phekeleni impilo or Let’s cook for Life programmeis one of Lucky Star’s key social development initiatives, and is run in association with the South African Chefs Association (SACA) and Hospitality Trainers & Associates (HTA). In response to Lucky Star’s objective to support home grown entrepreneurs and create a new breed of professionally trained catering companies; SACA have devised the Lucky Star Caterers Programme. This comprehensive course not only provides the necessary skills for any budding caterer, but also incorporates enterprise development and social investment responsibilities in order to ensure the sustainability and prosperity of each successful graduate’s catering company.

The 2016 class will see 14 candidates enrol in the 24-week programme, which utilises the CCE Skills Kitchen in Auckland Park for theoretical training, and the practical kitchen and lecture staff at HTA in Randburg. Lucky Star has sponsored nearly R350 000 which fully covers the training for each candidate including all training material, graduation and administration costs throughout the course, as well as a two year junior membership to SACA.
The selection process is rigorous; candidates are chosen from the disadvantaged communities within Gauteng and must already own their own catering or function-service company which operates in townships or surrounding areas. The candidates are taught the professional and business skills required to grow their existing company in order to create more jobs in the community and make a positive impact on the local economy. A driving factor in the success of this programme is the ongoing education and support given to previous graduates of the course in the form of workshops in marketing, networking and business services.

Zama Cynthia Masinga, who graduated from Lucky Star Caterers Academy in 2015 is grateful that the programme has provided her with the necessary skills to develop her own successful company even further; “After the Lucky Star Caterers Academy I had the confidence to grow my businesses and have used this opportunity to employ more people. What we learnt at the Lucky Star Caterers Academy did not end there with us, but will be passed on to our current and future employees and will help to strengthen and empower the community.”

“The idea behind Lucky Star Caterers Academy boils down to the concept of “give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach him to fish…” which is a particularly apt idiom for Lucky Star and our focus on sustainable development of skills,” says Lourens De Waal from Lucky Star. “At the end of the programme the graduates will have earned credible certification, and can use their newfound knowledge and skills to employ and train more staff as they grow their business further, leading to a positive impact on their lives and on the community.”

“As South Africa’s leading fishing Company, the Oceana Group has a responsibility to convert our fishing rights into value for the wider communities in which we service and operate in,” comments Oceana CEO, Francois Kuttel. “Our Lucky Star pilchard brand is a household name and is trusted for offering high quality nutrition at great value – by creating a Lucky Star Catering Academy we promote these healthy brand attributes while extending our enterprise and skills development to the youth, empowering them to follow their dreams and to lead the life they choose.”