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Cresta, UB partnership bears fruit

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In 2010, Cresta Marakanelo and the University of Botswana (UB) merged the industry and academia to develop a comprehensive ‘on the job training’ programme which is now reaching six years. The two are bound by a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which aims to identify two excelling graduates from the UB’s Tourism and Hospitality Department to be inducted into the two (2) year Cresta Management Development Programme.

“Over the years this is the main pool from which Cresta derives its management team,” explains Tawanda Makhaya, Managing Director at Cresta. Last week on 18th November, a small but befitting Excellence Award Ceremony was held at Cresta (Old Naledi) to honour and induct the latest two excelling UB Tourism and Hospitality graduates, Kamogelo Makgolo and Fikile Moswaane. The two young ladies, both 23-years-old, shone in their moment of pride as they expressed their gratitude to God, their support system in the form of family and mentors and to Cresta.

All the relevant players were in attendance at this award giving meet including Sandra Pabalinga, the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Manager at BQA who expressed her pleasure at the strategic merger. “One of our greatest concerns at BQA is the quality of education. Let’s not forget that quality is a moving target. In this case the Cresta Management Development Programme is accredited with us at the BQA”. Employers or companies tend to complain about the ‘lack of practical experience’ in regards to graduates, that they have more theory as compared to practice.

Hence Pabalinga is impressed by this coupling of industry and academia; specifically that industry in this instance is engaged and involved in bridging this gap. She said that BQA is currently auditing its clients or education and training institutions and providers and observes that there have been great improvements in this sector. Most importantly that clients now recognise the BQA as more than a regulator but a partner. “At the end of the day we regulate education and training so quality assurance standards are met for all training in the country,” said Pabalinga.

Another key player in the industry who spoke at the award ceremony and also motivated the two young exemplary women was Dr. Patrick Molutsi, CEO of the Human Resource Development Council (HRDC). “This is definitely a marriage of convenience between Cresta and the UB,” said Dr. Molutsi. One of their targets and defining features at the HRDC is to turn the education system from, ‘supply to demand driven’.

“These hands-on demand driven programmes will ensure that products of our institution come with practical experience,” said Dr. Molutsi adding and agreeing with Pabalinga that, “This will help with reducing the sharp cultural divide between industry and academia.” He explained that they benchmarked this training concept using a university in Finland recognised for its strong links with the hospitality industry. “We do not encourage hotels to create their own schools. We strongly believe in corporation, improving existing training programmes not starting your own as hotels.”

Professor Onkutlwile Othata, Dean of the Faculty of Business at the UB shared the numbers as they relate to the training programme at Cresta. “Since 2014 there have been 19 UB students absorbed for the six-month attachment. Cresta has also promised to take in 40 students for the internship programme starting January 2016,” stated Professor Othata.

The Cresta Management Development Programme has produced ‘industry giants’ added Makhaya. “We have trained credible names such as Godfrey Khupe and the late CEO of Fairgrounds Holdings, may his soul rest in peace. We have also trained the CEO of BTO,” said the MD beaming with pride.

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SMEs benefit from Consumer Fair growth

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The Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) has applauded Botswana Consumer Fair’s continued efforts to improve small to medium enterprises’ linkages.

BITC Chief Executive Officer, Keletsositse Olebile, when opening the fair, said the event has provided interactive forum for both local and foreign exhibitors. He said the shopping show has enabled manufacturers, wholesalers and traders to market their products directly to consumers, an alignment to government’s endeavors.

“As part of government intention, we continually encourage local sourcing by retailers and distributors,” said Olebile who is just few months into his new post. He further celebrated the growth of Botswana Consumer Fair over the years, attributing the expansion to quality of goods displayed at the previous shows.“Improved quality and increased variety of wares increases the interest of the visitors and makes them look forward to returning the following year,” said Olebile.

This year’s exhibitors at the 13th event still running under the banner: ‘It is more than just shopping’ have been drawn from Lesotho, Zambia, Swaziland, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Egypt, Japan, India, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

Consumer Fair is a flagship event for Fairgrounds Holdings and provides a platform for small medium enterprises (SMEs) from the different sectors of the economy to showcase and promote their products and services. In addition, the SMEs are expected to establish long term business linkages and promote local manufactured goods.Fairgrounds Holdings is already optimistic that the Fair immensely contribute to the socio-economic development of the country through supporting SMEs.

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‘Involve SMMEs in standards development’-Minister

Keikantse Lesemela

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Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Bogolo Kenewendo appealed to Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS) to include the Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) when developing the standards to improve the sector.

She said the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry has identified three areas of focus going forward which are modeled on SMME development, investment promotion and export development apexes. “I would like to implore you to include this sector in standards development processes and assist in improving SMMEs conformity to standards and compliance to technical regulations,” said Kenewendo.

Speaking during the BOBS Technical Committee Members appreciation ceremony on Thursday, Kenewendo explained that the important roles of standards are underpinned by the aspirations and intentions espoused in both diversified export led economic growth and job creation as priority areas. “It goes without saying that the diversification of the economy requires a National Quality Infrastructure and Technical Regulatory Framework that promote competitiveness of Botswana goods and services.”

She also emphasized that an effective National Quality Infrastructure and Technical Regulatory Framework are essential as they provide crucial links to global trade, market access and export competitiveness through their contribution to consumer confidence in product safety, quality and the environment.Since inception in 1997 BOBS has published more than 1700 standards through 48 technical committees across several sectors of the economy; 109 certification licences have been issued against some of these standards. Currently 46 Botswana Standards are being implemented through the standards regulations with a view to protecting the health and safety of consumers as well as protection of the environment.

On her note, BOBS Vice Chairperson of the Standards Council, Professor Edward Dintwa said standards are powerful tools for helping organisations that implement them to realize their potential, have access and compete in the global marketplace. “In this highly competitive and complex world, issues of sustainability and productivity, viewed from economic, environmental and societal perspectives require that businesses must be more efficient in their operations, which can be achieved through the implementation of standards”.

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