In what is expected to contribute towards the closing of the skills gap in South Africa, Amakhala Emoyeni Bedford Community Trust (“Bedford Trust), and the Kempston Group which owns the Duke of Bedford Hotel, have forged a partnership to establish a chef apprenticeship training centre in Bedford, Eastern Cape – set to empower the local community.

With the chef school construction and cooking equipment funded by the Kempston Group, the Bedford Trust has provided funding for the consumables – including monthly stipends for the six Bedford students.

The 12-month programme will go a long way in empowering young people with accredited culinary skills.

During the official programme launch on 22 June 2023, more than 50 stakeholder representatives, which included Bedford trustees, Cookhouse Windfarm, Nojoli Windfarm, Nxuba Windfarm, Golden Valley Windfarm, Eastern Cape Tourism Agency, Eastern Cape Socio-Economic Consultative Council, Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Raymond Mhlaba Municipality, South African International Maritime Institute, Sarah Baartman District Municipality, and Bedford Ward councilor, attended the event.

An inspirational call to respond to the needs of the local community and forging partnerships, was a common thread in remarks made by all speakers at the gathering.

“This project is one of the projects that come out of a dream.

“We are very happy that through the generosity of Mr. Tony Cotterell-founder and Chairman of Kempston Group, we were able to establish the first training center in Bedford.

“At Cennergi, we are fully committed to a meaningful and progressive collaborative partnership that will change the socio-economic landscape of our host communities,” said Takalani Maswime Bedford Trust chairperson and the Deputy Chairperson of the South Africa Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) Economic Development Working Group.

According to Mr. Simphiwe Mbenya- Cennergi ED Officer, skills development accompanied by job creation intent has always been the core focus of the three Amakhala Emoyeni Community Trusts (Amakhala Emoyeni Community Fund Trust, Bedford Trust, and Cookhouse Trust).

In his opening remarks, Mr. Danie du Plessis- Cennergi CEO which owns Amakhala Emoyeni Wind Farm said: “We are delighted to celebrate this partnership with you”. “Our generation of electricity through wind bears fruits for the portion of the profits being used for community development initiatives.” As part of the South Africa Renewable Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP),

This dream could not be realized without the efforts of Mrs. Marelise Van Niekerk- Apprentice Chef principal and Mrs. Abigail White- the Duke of Bedford Hotel Manager who was responsible for crafting the concept proposal and continue to ensure that the Chef training programme going smoothly, and the Board of Trustees of the Amakhala Emoyeni Bedford Community Trust.

Cennergi Services Economic Development Department has expressed pride in its administrative and operational support of the Amakhala Emoyeni Trusts – pledging to continue working with both the private and public sector, to ensure that the objectives and goals of the South Africa Renewable Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) and the National Development Plan are achieved.

As part of the South Africa Renewable Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP), minimum ownership by local communities in an IPP of 2.5% was required as a procurement condition in Bid Window 1 and 2. Cennergi owns 95% of the Amakhala Emoyeni wind farm and the rights to the project, whilst the Cookhouse Community Trust owns 2,5% and the Bedford Community Trust owns the other 2,5%.  Cennergi is 100% wholly owned by Exxaro Limited.

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