Press Release - Singita Lowveld Trust partners with Prue Leith Culinary Institute

SKNP COMMUNITY SCCS Dame Prue Leith Student Osborne Mathabule Reading Dame Prue Leith Cookbook Ross Couper 2

AUGUST 2023 The Singita Lowveld Trust (SLT), Singita’s conservation NGO in South Africa, is expanding its regional partnership with the Prue Leith Culinary Institute (PLCI), founded by the globally renowned culinary expert and television personality, Dame Prue Leith. The goal is to build a more robust and internationally recognised cheffing qualification for students from nearby rural communities.

SKNP COMMUNITY SCCS Dame Prue Leith Group Photo Students With Dame Prue Leith and Nande Photo Ross Couper 1

This exciting partnership marks a significant step towards achieving the SLT’s long-term community partnership goal - assisting neighbouring rural communities whilst supporting a new generation of local, young professional chefs into the tourism and hospitality sector, enabling them to thrive in these careerswell into the future. Going forward, the qualification will be presented from PLCI for all three Singita Community Culinary Schools (SCCS) campuses situated in South Africa, Tanzania, and Rwanda.

Thys Taljaard, Head of the SCCS Programme, is proud of the partnership with PLCI and Dame Prue Leith - a passionate advocate for education - and knew it would be a perfect fit from the start, "We share the same belief in the support of under-resourced communities. The passion that PLCI has for African cuisine also sold me on this alliance," says Thys. Together, they aim to provide exceptional opportunities for aspiring chefs, enabling them to pursue successful careers in hospitality and the culinary arts, while driving positive change within their communities. The globally recognised accreditation by PLCI elevates the standard of the yearlong, intensive, academic and practical course that the SCCS provides the students, providing a valuable qualification and post-graduation support. It also allows students the option to work internationally.

SKNP COMMUNITY SCCS Dame Prue Leith Student Mediate Makhuvele Getting Ready To Meet Dame Prue Leith Ross Couper 1

The impact of Prue Leith’s stellar reputation and her team’s expertise can’t be overstated. The ripple effects of the prestige it lends to the programme, and the support it gives in terms of academic and practical training resources and experience is a positive step forward for the SCCS at Singita Kruger National Park and its students. As a leading brand in hospitality and conservation, Singita has been committed to making a lasting impact on the communities surrounding its reserves for 30 years. In South Africa, the first SCCS, run by Singita Lowveld Trust, was established in 2007, to support the professional skills development for local youths (18 – 25 years) by teaching professional culinary skills alongside practical experience in world-class Singita kitchens, providing these graduates with employment opportunities. It is one of the SLT’s flagship programmes and one of the greatest community partnership success stories. In the 16 years since SCCS openeor fd in South Africa, it’s produced 103 graduates, 92% of whom are employed as professional chefs, or further afield into the hospitality industry.

  • The Singita Lowveld Trust sponsors six students a ear.
  • Onsite accommodation for 6 students (thanks to generous donor support) has increased the number of hours of work experience in Singita’s lodge kitchens by 25%
  • 25% of the graduates are employed at Singita.
  • 44% have progressed to junior sous chef level or beyond, 25% are commis chefs.

Highlighting the collaboration, Thys noted We could not have asked for more from this partnership. The systems that PLCI has in place – for both students and chef skills developers – is more than we expected, and we are excited about this new phase for the SCCS.” Hosting Dame Prue earlier this year at Singita Kruger National Park, “It was special for the students to meet such an icon in the industry and also for the Dame to witness how serious we are about what we do.”

SKNP COMMUNITY SCCS Dame Prue Leith Students Interactive Cooking With Dame Prue Leith Ross Couper 1

The partnership between Singita Community Culinary School and Prue Leith Culinary Institute is set to revolutionise culinary education in all three regions, opening doors to new opportunities, mentorship, and a network of connections within the global culinary community.

HOW: For more information on this partnership, please visit www.singita.com/2023/07/the-next-level-singita-community-culinary-school-partners-with-prue-leith

To assist a student with their tuition via the Singita Lowveld Trust, please visithttps://www.singitalowveldtrust.org/project/singita-community-culinary-school

About Singita Community Culinary School: The Singita Community Culinary School (SCCS) is one of Singita’s long-standing, flagship community partnerships, developing local talent and aspiring chefs to support the Hospitality and Tourism sector across Africa. This programme gives school leavers and young adults (aged 18- 24) selected from neighbouring rural communities the opportunity to participate in an intensive, year-long, Singita-crafted, professional cheffing course. The SCCS promotes professional cooking as a highly skilled career option that offers promising prospects for both formal and self-employment – and helps students to secure much-needed skilled employment to support their families and communities. This programme wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of guests and donors whose support funds additional scholarships through the SCCS Expansion Fund.

About the Singita Lowveld Trust (SLT): The Singita Lowveld Trust (SLT) is Singita’s non-profit partner in South Africa. This independent organisation is responsible for bringing Singita’s conservation vision to life by driving forward strategic conservation initiatives that fulfil its commitment to biodiversity, sustainability, and community partnerships. The SLT focuses on providing quality Early Childhood Development education and skills development opportunities to the communities surrounding the lodges. https://www.singitalowveldtrust.orgehttps://www.singitalowveldtrust.org/

How you can help

Please contribute to our Resource Drive and help to create a brighter future for the children living alongside our reserves. To date we have successfully raised 25% of the USD 320,000 required to resource the 17 currently participating centres.