One of Zimbabwe’s greatest assets is its warm, welcoming, and friendly citizens. We proudly employ some of the most talented and skilled Zimbabweans at Elephant’s Eye, Hwange and we are dedicated to providing essential employment opportunities and training to as many local Zimbabweans as possible. One way that we do this is through internship programs with students from Chinhoyi University of Technology, the University of Harare, and Polytech in Bulawayo. The students learn vital hospitality and management skills while interning at our lodge and are able to enter the workforce with valuable experience. Just another way we strive to make a positive impact in the areas we operate.
At any given time we have between 3 and 5 students at the lodge on internships that are usually between 8 months and 1 year as a requirement from their University. While on their internship they work on a rotational training program with 2-3 months in each department. The interns are trained in the following skills:
- Front of house – they are trained in 5-star service standards in dining set-up and waiter skills, stock counting and recording and bartending (including wine pairing and cocktail making training).
- Housekeeping – trained in good housekeeping principles, laundry and cleaning skills.
- Kitchen – they are trained on kitchen porter and basic cooking skills.
- Office – here they have exposure to sales, reservations communications, stock recording and balancing, email communications etc.
- They also get exposure to hosting skills and understanding of how a lodge runs as a whole.
As an Eco-lodge, we also add to their overall knowledge about Eco philosophies, concepts of Fair Trade etc. During their internship, we will take them on a Game Drive into the park at least once as well as go on a Community Upliftment Experience, they also learn about anti-poaching and conservation in general.
We have had wonderful experiences with many of our interns, 2, in particular, that stand out are Elton and Privilege. We have actually taken Elton on as a seasonal front of house host. Privilege is a Bachelor of Science Honours Degree in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation student From Chinhoyi University. One of the projects she did at Elephant’s Eye was about the fruit bats that live in our trees seasonally. She was exceptionally good in the front and guests loved her. She was even mentioned by name a few times on TripAdvisor and we were sad to see her go back to her university to complete her final year.
A successful internship is a mutually beneficial situation for both the lodge and the students, students are trained in vital skills that allow them to enter the workforces with experience and valuable skills while we benefit from fresh injections of talent and ideas to keep our lodge running smoothly as a sustainable eco-lodge in Zimbabwe. We are proud of our interns and thankful to them and wish them all the best in their future endeavours.