So, the dust has settled on what has been a very rewarding 8 weeks.
To recap, we had:
Over 100 applications
15 people shortlisted
5 internships offered
We followed two distinct tracks: Reservations and Operations. The two tracks followed the same protocol for weeks 1 and 2, but in week 3 Johan Ebersohn was diverted onto the Livingstone Acadamy Tour Guide course as part of the Operations Track.
The Reservations track became increasingly tougher as we progressed. By the time we moved the interns upstairs for practical job shadowing, the tough weekly evaluations had resulted in two casualties. The remaining interns were assimilated into the PG TOPS workflow with mentors assigned and a more holistic evaluation process. Monade, Lauren, Imogen and Bianca stepped in and started to work their magic.
Along the way, and I want to thank our industry partners and staff big time for this, the interns were lucky to experience:
A Cape Peninsula tour – Yolanda Bekker
A Cape Winelands tour – Ricardo Kruzer
A Cape Town City Centre tour- Danielle Killian
A lecture on customization options – Clive de Bruyne
A workshop on Excel application in quoting – Chrissy Wolfesberger Human
A visit to Giltedge Golf& Sport for exposure to Travelogic, CRM and incentive technologies and workflows – Warren, Adam, Nicola and the team
A whale watching day out – Zile de Kock and the team at Dyer Island Cruises
A day Safari with Aquila Game Reserve – Chelsea and the team
A site inspection at the Cape Grace – Amy Knight-Dawson
I am very happy to report that, as of the date of writing:
Johan has already done his first airport transfers, hosted clients on a safari day trip and is rapidly moving towards his tour guide qualification
Yandisa and Khunji have already assimilated into the res department and secured their first clients. Read all about our Boot Campers on the PG TOPS team page!
We will be offering all three contracts from next week to be part of the PG TOPS family. This first stab at Boot Camp was a great success, with an eventual 60% uptake of candidates.
I am scheduling the next round for 15 January 2018 commencement. We need:
Candidates: Aiming to do a class of 10 this time.
A trainer – preferably from industry, but I am looking for someone to spearhead this process
Sponsorship for candidates – PG TOPS will foot the bill for 3-5 candidates, but we can achieve quite a bit of economies of scale if we could find partnership funding for more candidates. My idea is for prospective employers to select a candidate for in-house placement Week 5, and pay their stipend for the first four weeks. The stipend per week is R1000. In-house placement after week 4 has a high probability of uptake for permanent employment with the sponsoring company, so this has the potential to be a massive win-win.
Boot Camp is paying dividends. The interns are starting to really get a feel for complex itinerary building, and I want to take this opportunity to thank our industry partners for helping out in the process so far.
Clive de Bruyne from Cape Town Tour Guide for addressing customization options. He delved into the worlds of archeology, art, active travel and food tours.
Chrissy Human from Earthstompers and Cape Food and Wine, who is teaching them the Garden Route, costing more complex itineraries and including multiple accommodation options in their consult.
Yolanda Bekker Colman, former PG TOPS TRAVEL AND TOURS operations manager who has interrupted her holiday in South Africa to take the team on a Cape Peninsula day educational.
The PG TOPS and Luxury Safaris teams who have seamlessly incorporated time spent with the interns into their busy workdays.
Warren Weitsz and Adam Veysey from Giltedge Golf and Safari, who will introduce the interns to their processes and Travelogic next week!
We are in week 3 of Tourism Boot Camp. The weekly tests have challenged our interns to critically tackle problems relating to custom tours for the Cape Town region. This week we are doing educationals on our 3-day highlights package!
We are also introducing the interns to costing constructions using Excel, incorporating accommodation options and policies in procedures in a reservations department. So far so good! Meet the bootcampers…
Arlene is a Cape Town local, born and raised in Delft. She already has internship experience with Avis Car Rental and Village and Life, and excelled with her tourism studies at the College of Cape Town. Arlene is comfortably tackling the complexities of custom itinerary building. She likes to read and do hiking in her spare time.
Portia Yandisa Nontombana
This friendly and stylish young lady completed her B Tech in Tourism Management at Cape Peninsula University of Technology in 2016. She has practical experience in tour operating and hospitality, including a stint at Spier wine estate. She is from Nyanga in Cape Town, and we have been extremely impressed with her penmanship and overall professionalism.
Khuni has taken on the challenge of an unfamiliar environment with gusto. A Plettenberg Bay local, she has relocated to Cape Town to take on the challenge of Boot Camp, and her understanding of complicated route planning in the winelands has surprised and delighted us. She studies at the South Cape College and is our first graduate from the GOLD peer education programme.
We are launching our first boot camp on 31 July. We have handpicked 5 candidates to take the first steps on this journey with us, and intern profiles and progress reporting to follow soon.
The first week will focus on a core roster of Cape Town tourist activities, as follows:
Cape Town City Centre
Shark Cage Diving
Our approach is driven by the core methodology of PG TOPS Travel and Tours, which is to focus on private touring arrangements. Consistent with the approach of critical thinking, bespoke touring requires a lot of creative adjustment to client needs, and this is focused on from the outset.
We are ideally looking for candidates who have done some form of tertiary training – at a tourism or hospitality college. However, we are also open to candidates who are in various other industries that have no opportunity for advancement. The important attribute is a base skills set of communication and computer literacy, and a can-do attitude. We can train you up on the rest.
We are looking for native South Africans, age 20-24 who live in the Cape Town area.
You can submit your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org. Our vetting process immediately starts with a formal questionnaire which you will be required to fill in. This is the base requirement for us to consider you for an internship.
The Six Week course follows a three-tiered framework.
Most importantly, Critical Thinking skills and Overall Attitude are the cornerstones of progressing at Boot Camp. Only creative problem solvers with a can-do mindset will progress to the next phase in the week-by-week process.
These three areas are interrelated and are addressed in individual modules, but collectively entrenched during the six week program.
Underlying competencies in computer literacy, spreadsheets and costings, written communication and use of third party products are addressed. This is a focus area in Week 4 of the course, but is introduced from the outset as an underlying key competency.
Interns are inducted into a cultural framework, and how to present themselves appropriately. Oral, physical and written representation to align with the company’s values, culture and brand proposition.
The cornerstone of the T.B.C. approach is Critical Thinking. Problematically, the tertiary educational system is not focusing on critical thinking in a practical consultative environment. Job seekers are therefore not trained to address problems in a creative manner. Our methodology seeks to address this, and to encourage candidates to attack problems from different angles in order to arrive at the optimum solution.