Preparing to cook up a storm

Empowering the youth
Marco Polo Chef and Waitress Training Classes offer a path to prosperity.
Jemimah Ndebele
In the heart of Gobabis, a unique initiative is lighting up the lives of young people who once faced limited opportunities after high school. Marco Polo, a company founded by Gustav Uaets, offers free chef and waitress training classes that provide a lifeline to local youth seeking to enter the hospitality industry and secure their financial independence.

Uaets, a newcomer to Gobabis just three years ago, recognised the potential of the town's young population and the need for constructive engagement. He decided to establish Marco Polo, aiming to bridge the gap between formal education and employment by offering specialised training in culinary and service professions.

“I saw the need for something like this because when I moved to Gobabis three years ago, there were so many young people who just remained at home after dropping out of high school. So, I started Marco Polo to help young people get into and advance in the hospitality industry with careers such as chef and waitressing that will also allow for easy employment,” Uaets said.

The programme, based at the Omaheke Regional Library in Gobabis since late October 2022, offers a six-month chef training course, including an additional month for job attachment, while the waitress training course lasts for two months, with an extra attachment period for on-the-job training.

While these classes are not accredited yet, “we aspire to attain accreditation in the near future, a step that will further enhance the opportunities available to the students,” he said.



Support

Uaets is deeply appreciative of the support from local businesses, which has been instrumental in the success of his venture. He acknowledged the contributions of businesses such as Spar, MegaSave, Foodzone, and Sandune Lodge, which have embraced the Marco Polo programme by allowing students to gain practical experience at their establishments.

Currently, Marco Polo boasts 35 enthusiastic students, and the demand for the programme continues to rise. “There are currently 46 youths on our waiting list eager to participate in the chef and waiter training classes because they receive a certificate at the end that allows them to apply for jobs.”

Wandi Kooper, a 21-year-old who dropped out of high school in grade 9 due to financial constraints, found renewed hope through Marco Polo. After participating in the programme, she envisions a brighter future. “I am so excited for what the future holds once I am done with my waitressing job attachment because I will finally be able to go study further or start my own business because they even teach us how to do that here.”

Another student, 20-year-old Ndangi Katjipuka, shared his journey from waitering to aspiring chef, saying, “I failed at my vocational school and decided to embark on a photography journey in Gobabis. It was when I came for a photoshoot that I heard about Marco Polo and I decided to stay for two months and complete the course. My dream has always been to become a chef, so after I complete my waitering course, I will be chasing that dream.”

As the demand for these training classes continues to rise, it's evident that Uaets' vision and commitment are helping to shape a brighter future for Gobabis and its promising young talent.

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Republikein 2024-02-25

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H.E. 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Nam 2.22 SAME | Oryx Properties Ltd 12.1 UP 1.70% | Paratus Namibia Holdings 11.99 SAME | SBN Holdings 8.45 SAME | Trustco Group Holdings Ltd 0.48 SAME | B2Gold Corporation 47.34 DOWN 1.50% | Local Index closed 677.62 UP 0.12% | Overall Index closed 1534.6 DOWN 0.05% | Osino Resources Corp 19.47 DOWN 2.41% | Commodities: Gold US$ 2 035.38/OZ UP +0.52% | Copper US$ 3.86/lb DOWN -0.0073 | Zinc US$ 2 432.00/T UP 0.13% | Brent Crude Oil US$ 81.72/BBP DOWN -0.0194 | Platinum US$ 900.85/OZ DOWN -0.0011 Sport results: H.E. Dr Nangolo Mbumba, President of the Republic of Namibia says they will continue to pursue the second struggle of Namibia Zambian President, Hakainde Hichilema said one road will be named after the late president in Lusaka and the other road will be named after the founding president of Namibia The late President Hage Geingob’s casket was stationed at the Eternal Flame before he was taken to his final resting place The casket will of the late president was lowered with a 21 gun salute Accoutrements will be handed over to the former first lady of Monica Geingos An official luncheon by invitation is scheduled to take place at 14:00 at the State House The foreign dignataries are currently paying their last tribute to the former first lady, Monica Geingos Heroes Acre will be closed to the public, the National Council will announce once it is reopenedSix Nations: Scotland 30 vs 21 England | Ireland 31 vs 7 Wales Premier League: Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 vs 0 Sheffield United | Arsenal 4 vs 1 Newcastle | Bournemouth 0 vs 1 Manchester City | Brighton 1 vs 1 Everton | Crystal Palace 3 vs 0 Burnley | Aston Villa 4 vs 2 Forest | Manchester United 1 vs 2 Fulham | Chelsea 0 vs 0 Tottenham Hotspur LaLiga: Cadiz 2 vs 2 Celta Vigo | Almería 2 vs 2 Atletico Madrid | Deportivo Alaves 1 vs 1 Mallorca | Barcelona 4 vs 0 Getafe | Granada 0 vs 0 Valencia | Real Sociedad 1 vs 3 Villarreal SerieA: Juventus 3 vs 2 Frosinone | Genoa 2 vs 0 Udinese | Salernitana 0 vs 2 Monza | Sassuolo 2 vs 3 Empoli | Bologna 2 vs 0 Hellas Verona | Torino 0 vs 2 SS Lazio European Championships Qualifying: Ipswich Town 3 vs 1 Birmingham City | Watford 1 vs 2 Huddersfield Town | Sunderland 1 vs 2 Swansea City | Blackburn Rovers 1 vs 1 Norwich City | Southampton 1 vs 2 Millwall FC | Cardiff City 2 vs 1 Stoke City | Queens Park Rangers 2 vs 1 Rotherham United | Sheffield Wednesday 2 vs 1 Bristol City | Middlesbrough 0 vs 2 Plymouth Argyle | Hull City 1 vs 1 West Bromwich Albion | Leeds United 3 vs 1 Leicester City | Coventry City 0 vs 3 Preston North End English Championship: Ipswich Town 3 vs 1 Birmingham City | Watford 1 vs 2 Huddersfield Town | Sunderland 1 vs 2 Swansea City | Blackburn Rovers 1 vs 1 Norwich City | Southampton 1 vs 2 Millwall FC | Cardiff City 2 vs 1 Stoke City | Queens Park Rangers 2 vs 1 Rotherham United | Sheffield Wednesday 2 vs 1 Bristol City | Middlesbrough 0 vs 2 Plymouth Argyle | Hull City 1 vs 1 West Bromwich Albion | Leeds United 3 vs 1 Leicester City | Coventry City 0 vs 3 Preston North End Weather: Katima Mulilo: 22° | 41° Rundu: 22° | 40° Eenhana: 22° | 37° Oshakati: 23° | 36° Ruacana: 19° | 36° Tsumeb: 24° | 37° Otjiwarongo: 22° | 34° Omaruru: 21° | 36° Windhoek: 22° | 32° Gobabis: 22° | 35° Henties Bay: 16° | 19° Wind speed: 21km/h, Wind direction: S, Low tide: 10:10, High tide: 04:15, Low Tide: 22:13, High tide: 16:26 Swakopmund: 16° | 17° Wind speed: 25km/h, Wind direction: SW, Low tide: 10:08, High tide: 04:13, Low Tide: 22:11, High tide: 16:24 Walvis Bay: 16° | 21° Wind speed: 30km/h, Wind direction: SW, Low tide: 10:08, High tide: 04:12, Low Tide: 22:11, High tide: 16:23 Rehoboth: 20° | 34° Mariental: 20° | 36° Keetmanshoop: 19° | 35° Aranos: 20° | 36° Lüderitz: 14° | 30° Ariamsvlei: 16° | 34° Oranjemund: 13° | 26° Luanda: 26° | 28° Gaborone: 21° | 39° Lubumbashi: 18° | 26° Mbabane: 14° | 20° Maseru: 10° | 32° Antananarivo: 15° | 27° Lilongwe: 18° | 30° Maputo: 21° | 26° Windhoek: 22° | 32° Cape Town: 16° | 25° Durban: 18° | 22° Johannesburg: 19° | 32° Dar es Salaam: 27° | 33° Lusaka: 18° | 34° Harare: 18° | 33° Economic Indicators: Currency: GBP to NAD 24.4 | EUR to NAD 20.87 | CNY to NAD 2.68 | USD to NAD 19.28 | DZD to NAD 0.14 | AOA to NAD 0.02 | BWP to NAD 1.35 | EGP to NAD 0.62 | KES to NAD 0.13 | NGN to NAD 0.01 | ZMW to NAD 0.83 | ZWL to NAD 0.04 | BRL to NAD 3.86 | RUB to NAD 0.21 | INR to NAD 0.23 | USD to DZD 134.44 | USD to AOA 828.51 | USD to BWP 13.77 | USD to EGP 30.85 | USD to KES 144.98 | USD to NGN 1488.4 | USD to ZAR 19.29 | USD to ZMW 22.95 | USD to ZWL 321 | Stock Exchange: JSE All Share Index 74213.39 Up +0.14% | Namibian Stock Exchange (NSX) Overall Index 1551.37 Up +0.01% | Casablanca Stock Exchange (CSE) MASI 13083.17 Up +0.74% | Egyptian Exchange (EGX) 30 Index 29309.73 Up +0.06% | Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) DCI 9001.84 Same 0 | NSX: MTC 7.75 SAME | Anirep 8.99 SAME | Capricorn Investment group 17.34 SAME | FirstRand Namibia Ltd 49 DOWN 0.50% | Letshego Holdings (Namibia) Ltd 4.1 UP 2.50% | Namibia Asset Management Ltd 0.7 SAME | Namibia Breweries Ltd 31.49 UP 0.03% | Nictus Holdings - Nam 2.22 SAME | Oryx Properties Ltd 12.1 UP 1.70% | Paratus Namibia Holdings 11.99 SAME | SBN Holdings 8.45 SAME | Trustco Group Holdings Ltd 0.48 SAME | B2Gold Corporation 47.34 DOWN 1.50% | Local Index closed 677.62 UP 0.12% | Overall Index closed 1534.6 DOWN 0.05% | Osino Resources Corp 19.47 DOWN 2.41% | Commodities: Gold US$ 2 035.38/OZ UP +0.52% | Copper US$ 3.86/lb DOWN -0.0073 | Zinc US$ 2 432.00/T UP 0.13% | Brent Crude Oil US$ 81.72/BBP DOWN -0.0194 | Platinum US$ 900.85/OZ DOWN -0.0011