Five of its Capsicum Culinary Studio’s top students have been granted the opportunity of a lifetime – a work placement with Qatar Airways, based in Doha.

We spoke to Thulisile Mgidi, the school’s Customer Experience Manager about the placement process.

How did the placements with Qatar Airways come about?
Thulisile Mgidi: We initiated discussions with Qatar Airways’ Talent Acquisition team late last year and it gained momentum in mid-January with the introduction of the Career Centre as a department within Capsicum Culinary Studio and The IIE School of Hospitality & Service Management (IIE HSM). Subsequently, dates were finalised for Qatar Airways to conduct interview sessions in Johannesburg and Cape Town in early March. A total of 168 candidates were invited for interviews with five incredibly lucky candidates selected to fill the positions.

Can you tell us who they are?
Yes. The five include: Fazlin Isaacs (Cape Town), Mfeya Oratile (Gqeberha), Ayanda Khumalo (Pretoria), Glen Lamola (Pretoria) and Mduduzi Ngwenya (Boksburg).

Have there been placements with Qatar previously?
No this is a first for both Capsicum and IIE HSM

How were the five finalists chosen?
The candidates underwent interviews conducted by the Qatar Airways Talent Acquisition team, followed by a skills test in the kitchen.

Of the five students, we managed to catch up with three of them – Mduduzi Ngwenya (26) who lives in Brakpan, Fazlin Isaacs (26) from Ottery in Cape Town and Ayanda Khumalo (23) who resides in Amandasig in Pretoria North.

How did your placement with Qatar come about?
MN: I was sent an email from my student adviser and was invited to the interview process at the Rosebank campus.
FI: I have a sister who is living and working in Qatar, and I wanted to find a way to do the same. Capsicum offered an opportunity, and I was more than eager to apply and lucky enough to secure one of the five spots.
AK: I received an email from Capsicum about Qatar Airways’ interest in recruiting young and aspiring chefs and I jumped at the chance to apply.

Congratulations! When do you start and what will you be doing during your placement?
MN: I am not exactly sure when I start but I should be in Doha by the end of June.
FI: I am waiting to hear about final dates and my role.
AK: I’m not exactly sure when I will be starting but I will be joining Qatar Duty Free Company as a second Commis Chef.

How long is the placement?
MN/FI/AK: The first six months will be a probationary period and hopefully thereafter we will be offered long-term contracts.

What would you like to do once your placement has ended and where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
MN: I’m hoping to save as much as I can to buy a trailer to fund my business. In five years’ time I want to have one of the best catering companies in South Africa, even Africa
FI: I’ll either stay in Doha and work there a bit longer or return to South Africa to pursue my five-year plan of owning my own successful food establishment.
AK: I want to pursue a career in pastry to become more than just a Professional Chef but also a really good Pastry Chef.

A final word from Mgidi: “We are thrilled about the expansion of our partnership with Qatar Airways, solidifying our position as their preferred partner in the culinary and hospitality industries. At our institution, we take pride in bridging the gap between our talented graduates and world-class opportunities.”

Ayanda Khumalo
Mduduzi Ngwenya
Fazlin Isaacs
Thulisile Mgidi