July 12, 2021

Nestlé Professional’s YOCUTA Programme Provides Culinary Opportunities for Youth in 2021


Nestlé Professional’s YOCUTA programme is a free culinary education programme launched last year. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the initiative was postponed to 2021. The programme is currently underway, following strict healthcare protocols.

In order to be successful at fostering change and managing sustainable impact in the industry, we have to be involved with sustainable development initiatives that empower young talent. As the saying goes; “the future is in the hands of the youth”. Nestle Professional is at the forefront of this change through YOCUTA – short for Young Culinary Talents. This has been made possible through partnerships with culinary schools such as HTA Culinary School and the South African Chefs Association (SA Chefs).

Why Did Nestlé Start the YOCUTA Programme?

Nestlé Professional South Africa has always recognised the need to add sustainable value to aspiring chefs operating within the foodservice industry. This was the core reason behind the birth of The Nestlé Professional Enterprise Development Programme five years ago. So far, the programme has played a huge role in upskilling, guiding and supporting home-grown entrepreneurs in the field of industrial, commercial and private catering.

YOCUTA was actually launched in Europe in 2013 with the aim to take on the economic and social crisis that the continent was facing at the time. The programme has since trickled down to other parts of the globe – including South Africa. It aims to give 10 million youth access to economic opportunities around the world, through strengthening their theoretical and practical skills, and preparing them for their professional career while helping the foodservice industry to fill the shortage of skilled culinary workers worldwide.

Creating Opportunities in the Local Job Market

Reports in the last quarter of 2019 highlighted an increase in youth unemployment rates in South Africa. They also detailed a key reason behind unemployment being a lack of skills. This leaves them vulnerable to long-term unemployment and poor living conditions. The culinary industry is facing similar challenges, with job vacancies and turnover remaining high, while the skills in the workforce are still disturbingly low. This is where Nestlé’s Global Youth Initiative, YOCUTA, comes in.

This programme is broken down into three pillars, with pillar one taking priority while Nestle Professional works to finalise the infrastructure required to accommodate the other two pillars – projected to kickstart in 2022.

YOCUTA pillars

Pillar 1: employed youth: This pillar was set up to prepare the youth for success by providing CV writing skills, interview skills, an introduction to careers in foodservice and nutrition, health and wellness.

Pillar 2: skilled food service professional: This pillar will provide the youth with culinary certification, hygiene and safety as well as practical skills training.

Pillar 3: engaged and mindful chefs: The last pillar focuses on inspiring the new generation of chefs with advanced culinary skills training, sustainable foodservice training and nutrition for professionals training.

Are You the Right Fit for the Programme?

The student selection process for this programme will prioritise people who come from previously disadvantaged backgrounds. However, to qualify, you need to be of legal working age in South Africa. For this programme, in particular, you need to be between the ages of 18 and 30 years.

Student Support During YOCUTA

To keep the learning environment more productive, the YOCUTA programme needs to offer support to the students throughout the programme. It also needs to follow the traditional learning practices such as rewarding hard-working students and offering them incentives where necessary. These incentives will be managed on an ad hoc basis by lecturers and will include recipe booklets, product hampers and practical exposure to a well functioning and established kitchens and more.

Find out more about the YOCUTA Programme by clicking here, or by contacting Nestle Professional South Africa.


Never miss a beat: follow SA Chef Media on FacebookInstagramTwitter, or sign up for our fortnightly newsletter.