The third and latest addition to the internationally accredited Singita Community Culinary Schools (SCCSs) has just opened in Rwanda, where it is set to make a significant difference to the future prospects of talented individuals from local communities. With this flagship initiative already empowering up-and-coming commis chefs in South Africa and Tanzania, students at the new campus will now emerge with sought-after skills and strong employment prospects upon graduating from the professional culinary arts course.

Run in partnership with Muhabura Integrated Polytechnic College (MIPC), the Rwanda SCCS is located at the MIPC campus in Musanze close to Singita Volcanoes National Park (SVNP).

After an upgrade and renovation of the teaching kitchen and theory classroom at the MIPC in July 2021, the very first intake of students embarked their year-long course. The first class of ten students will graduate in June 2022, fully prepared and armed with the practical and theoretical knowledge to succeed as they embark on promising careers in hospitality. While tourism in Rwanda is burgeoning, luxury hospitality jobs are hard to come by, especially in remote areas such as Musanze.

As a respected local institution of higher learning, MIPC is a private Rwandan campus offering technical and professional programmes in Hospitality and Tourism, Civil engineering, Electrical Technology, ICT and Business Studies, among others. Strong partnerships in the countries in which Singita operates is considered best practice, and consultation with local stakeholders identified an urgent need for qualified workers aligned with job opportunities.

Claudine Tuyishime, Conservation & Community Officer at SVNP says, “It has been a dream to open a Singita Community Culinary School in Rwanda.

The SCCS came at the right time to fill a skills gap, and it’s a wonderful employment opportunity for ten young students – every year. Rwanda’s government has been promoting vocational training that leads to jobs, and the SCCS is well-aligned with that. Having this opportunity so close to Volcanoes National Park (VNP) means a lot to the local community – and it also contributes to Singita’s long-term purpose to ensure uplift and empower local communities.”

Ensuring the future momentum of this continuous success story

The SCCS programme constitute a significant step towards achieving Singita’s long-term community development goal, of assisting the families living in and around the reserves to thrive – both economically and socially. Applicants were drawn from the communities closest to Singita’s lodges. The schools also serve to promote professional cooking as a highly skilled occupation, helping young people to expand their horizons, while providing financial support for their families.

Two other Singita Community Culinary Schools have successfully been producing young, talented chefs – one at Singita Kruger National Park (since 2007), and one at Singita Grumeti (since 2015). From 2021, all three schools will offer the same internationally recognised Worldchefs certificate – a curriculum that combines the grounding of theory with intensive practical training. While each of the schools holds its own appeal and unique features – including an emphasis on local recipes, procurement, seasonal abundance, and traditional recipes – there’s a golden thread throughout which is founded on the programme’s high professional standards.

Every student works under the tutelage of a highly skilled Rwandan Chef Skills Developer, while Singita’s Senior Chef Skills Developer – Thys Taljaard, Group Executive Chef – Andrew Nicholson, and the award-winning restaurateur Liam Tomlin provide strategic mentorship. Graduates proceed to an internship programme and receive job placement support, while exchanges with local and international kitchens are also available to the most promising students.

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shun deLuciana Righi