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International Hotel School (IHS), Africa’s leading hotel school, recently hosted the finals of the 2015 Bursary Competition at the Indaba Hotel Spa and Conference Centre in Fourways.

This annual bursary competition is designed to nurture budding talent and to enable passionate students to pursue their dreams of working in the hospitality and culinary industry.

Semi-finalists were required to attend a week-long boot camp at the Indaba Hotel Spa and Conference Centre, where they were put through their paces doing shift work in various departments to reflect what it is like to work in a hotel. These tasks and shift work took place in the kitchen, front office, housekeeping, reservations, and food and beverage departments. The week culminated in a final interview in front of a panel of IHS lectures, Managing Principal and senior hotel staff.

Despite fierce competition, matric pupil Roujé Letswalso managed to secure top honours in the competition and was awarded tuition fees for any IHS programme, valued up to R225,000. Runner-up Michaela Coleman will receive a 50% bursary for her chosen programme.

Roujé, a hungry and ambitious learner from Die Hoërskool Langenhoven in Pretoria, views his opportunity to study at IHS as the first step in realising his dream of founding and managing his own catering company. With the knowledge and industry experience acquired at IHS, he also hopes to travel and work overseas. “Ultimately, I want to bring global experience and learnings back to South Africa to play my role in developing the local economy,” he said.

Participation in the IHS Bursary Competition not only provided him with financial aid to pursue his dream, but has prepared him for the challenges that lie ahead for anyone pursuing a career in this fast-paced and often challenging industry. “Working in the hospitality industry takes a great deal of effort and time, so one must be very sure it is what you want to do. But if it is your passion and your purpose, it’s all worthwhile – go ahead and chase that passion!” he added.

Michaela’s experience at the Indaba Hotel boot camp also confirmed for her that the culinary and hospitality industry is where she belongs. “I’ve always known that being a chef is the career for me, but this opportunity has made it possible for me to be the first in my family to pursue this dream,” said the grade 12-learner from Collegiate Girls High School in Port Elizabeth.

According to Ruth Paulsen, Marketing Director for IHS, the bursary competition is one of IHS’s initiatives to help identify, acknowledge, support and grow the best talent to feed the hospitality and culinary industry. “Next year will mark a decade of the IHS bursary competition starting careers for passionate and entrepreneurial young learners. We are proud to host such an inspiring competition and are excited to welcome the winners at our respective campuses.”

Charles Drewe, General Manager at the Indaba Hotel Spa and Conference Centre, also expressed his praise of the IHS Bursary Competition. “The Indaba Hotel provides a great 360° experience to identify natural talent in every aspect of the hotel environment, but during the competition, Roujé’s natural leadership and problem-solving skills shone brightest. It’s wonderful to be a part of an initiative that ultimately feeds the industry with well-rounded and inspired individuals,’ he added.

For more information about International Hotel School and the Bursary Competition, visit http://www.hotelschool.co.za

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