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Johannesburg – 23 August 2016; Hilton Worldwide’s local hotels in South Africa, in conjunction with The Culture, Art, Tourism, Hospitality, and Sport Sector Education and Training Authority (CATHSSETA), today awarded internships worth almost R 3.5 million to 60 university students from across the country. The initiative, is aimed at creating sustainable careers for the youth by way of learning and development opportunities to train them in the skills they require for potential future positions in the hospitality industry.

In attendance was South African Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom, members of CATHSSETA, as well as inspirational guest speaker Tankiso Motaung. Motaung, a qualified engineer, made headlines earlier this year after a photograph of him begging for a job in the Sandton Central Business District went viral.

Alexandra based, Minerva High School Choir also made a special appearance and celebrated the 60 beneficiaries in true South African spirit.Addressing attendees at the event, the honorable Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom, said that boosts in tourism meant more opportunities and jobs for the industry at large. He encouraged the youth, who will one day make up the future workforce of the hospitality industry, to take full advantage of their internships and the opportunity to learn from Hilton’s world class offering.

“The focus of the Hilton Internships and Work Integrated Learnerships is to provide a consistent high-quality model that not only meets the requirements of providing participating students with work experience, but also to expose them to the industry and all that it has to offer.” explained Jan van der Putten, Hilton Worldwide’s Vice President Operations: A&IO

In celebration of woman’s month, as well as the Department of Tourism’s “Woman in Tourism” program, 48 of the 60 learners being awarded the internships are women. The 12-month internships will see students given the opportunity to gain experience in the following departments; Sales, Marketing & Revenue, Accounts, Human Resources, Food & Beverage, Kitchen, Housekeeping, Front Office and Information Technology.

This initiative is part of Hilton Worldwide’s Open Doors commitment, which aims to create opportunities and “Open Doors” for young people. Open Doors is one of the three pillars of Travel with Purpose, Hilton Worldwide’s global corporate responsibility strategy.

Hilton Worldwide has more than 4,700 hotels around the world with a key focus being on the expansion of its footprint and presence across the African continent. Considering the projected growth over the next few years, it is estimated that Hilton Worldwide will create more than 23,000 jobs in the next four years.

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