South Africa’s first internationally accredited Hotel and Gaming School launches
[Pretoria: 7 June 2018] With predictions that South Africa will draw 18-million domestic and international leisure travellers by 2021, South Africa’s new International Hotel and Gaming School is set to deliver specialised skills training for this fast-growing economic sector.
The school forms part of Sun International’s commitment to the Gauteng Gambling Board in 2014, when it was granted permission to relocate its gaming license from Morula Casino and Hotel in Soshanguve to Menlyn Maine in Pretoria.
Sun International has collaborated with the International Hotel School (IHS) to introduce a curriculum that holistically focuses on the hospitality, leisure, and gaming industries. It is the first internationally affiliated and accredited educational institution in southern Africa to offer such training.
Speaking at today’s opening, Sun International CEO Anthony Leeming said: “Hospitality, leisure, and gaming are remarkably resilient industries capable of creating jobs even during times of economic downturn. The disciplines are closely related and share similar skills requirements, so the integrated training at the school will allow students to follow broad career paths or select more specialised paths.
“We have long felt there is a need in the market for entry level staff with fit-for-purpose training. To address this, we looked at collaborative partnerships with local tertiary institutions, existing hotel schools, and the International Hotel School (IHS). We believe the outcome is an ideal state-of-the-art academic facility and learning centre that will serve the entire leisure industry.”
At a time when many traditional industries are shedding jobs, the hotel, travel and leisure industry continues to create new ones. Globally, travel creates one in 10 jobs while in South Africa it accounts for one in 22 jobs (4.5%). A recent PWC report estimates that by 2021 demand for hotel rooms will outstrip supply, occupancy rates will rise to 64.3% and overall room revenue will increase by 9.3% to R24.8-billion.
The gaming sector shows similar resilience with the PWC Gaming Industry report predicting that between now and 2021 gross gambling revenue will rise steadily by a compounded 4.2% annually. Casinos support over 64,000 jobs, with direct staff receiving over R3.5-billion from the industry each year.
The career scope is therefore wide and varied. In addition to creating jobs locally, the training will open opportunities for South Africans to travel while gaining international experience. With the correct skills and training they can cruise the world as croupiers on luxury liners, they can manage casinos and convention centres, work in 5-star hotels or undergo further in-house training at internationally-renowned restaurants. The possibilities are endless.
With its new student intake, the school will offer internationally certified qualifications in hospitality, gaming and tourism management ranging from certificates and diplomas, to undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, as well as executive programmes.
Invictus Education Group CEO Mike Lambert said: “As Invictus Education Group, we are proud to be associated with Sun International and launch IHS Gaming, Africa’s first gaming school for the whole industry. With 30% of the yearly  profit put aside for bursaries for those less privileged, who wish to make a career in the Hospitality and Gaming sector, we hope to make a significant contribution towards skills development and employment in South Africa.”
Training will focus on three educational pillars: functional skills, professional skills and management and leadership skills. Graduates will be equipped with all the basic entry level skills and knowledge required to step into jobs in their chosen field. An important aspect of the training is that it will also prepare students for future management positions – whether running hotels, casinos, restaurants, or any other hospitality and entertainment business.
All training takes place in a simulated environment to ensure that graduates will be familiar with industry infrastructure. For example, they will train in a proper kitchen environment and will be supplied with old slot machines for technical training. Once students have trained in a simulated environment they will be placed into hotel and casino properties to do their practical’s known as work integrated learning. The programmes are broken down as follows; 50% training and learning to be conducted in a simulated environment and the other 50% taking place in the actual workplace.
While Sun International has been involved in the initial set up, the IHS will manage the school. Currently, the IHS places 955% of students in industry jobs when they are finished studying, which is an extraordinary statistic.
Internationally, gaming studies form part of of what will be accredited courses at Universities such as University of Nevada , Las Vegasch as Las Vegas and Reno.
Speaking about the skills required for the hospitality and gaming industry, Sun International’s Group Human Resources Director Verna Robson concluded “In addition to relevant skills, personality is an essential qualifier. The gaming industry in particular is a vibrant people-centric environment. This is the career choice for anyone who enjoys interacting with people, wants to have fun and is prepared to work hard. When the fit is right people don’t leave.”