Getting paid to see South Africa? Victoria Nowotny and Charlotte Weber of Soho House Berlin jumped at the chance to do an exchange with apprentices from Cape Town
Since they started their apprenticeship with Soho House Berlin in August 2015, azubis Victoria Nowotny and Charlotte Weber have been working their way around the different departments, from front-of-house to support operations. The idea is to get an intense insight into every aspect of the House, which is backed up with one week per month in vocational school.
When the school suggested an exchange with apprentices in South Africa, people & development manager Katharina Dalheimer felt that the azubis’ performance and grades should be rewarded, and the two were sent to Cape Town for two weeks.
“Cape Town is a city full of contrasts, from townships to hotel lobbies,” they told House Four on their return. “During our exchange with the College of Cape Town, we were able to dive into quite a different from the one we know.
“In August 2016 the South African students came to visit us, spending a few days at our workplace. The differences in the teaching approach were remarkable: in Germany, we work for three weeks at our respective hotels and go to school for one week a month, while in South Africa, where the apprenticeship also takes a total of three years the first two years are spent at school.
“In our time there we got to know different aspects of culinary and hotel culture. We visited the Hotel Verde, which focuses on sustainable hotel business and ecological awareness. For example, the shower water was reused for the toilets and electricity was generated in the workout room and used for lighting. We also worked at a green gardening facility in a township.
“This experience has helped us to form a better understanding of the responsibility we have not only in our daily lives, but in the hotels we work in. If you visit a city where sinks are a luxury article and stoves are uncommon, you begin to understand how lucky we are.”