Workaway International has been successfully placing South African participants in US country clubs on seasonal contracts for 20 years, giving them the working experience of a lifetime, improving their career opportunities and broadening horizons through international travel. General Manager, Charlotte Quenet-Meintjes tells us more…
In 1999, we successfully recruited 60 participants to work at the Boca West Country Club for four months. Members of the country club fell in love with our participants due to their work ethic, discipline, manners, friendliness and overall drive and dedication.
We subsequently introduced a summer programme, allowing participants who had done the winter season with country clubs in the south to extend their contracts and work up north (New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, North Carolina and more). This allows participants to gain work experience at more than one country club during their time abroad, gives them the opportunity to meet more people and further expand their skillset.
When Workaway International started, we only sent participants to the Boca West Country Club and today, we send them to more than 25 country clubs for the winter programme and 18 country clubs for the summer programme.
We also began recruiting candidates from other countries such as Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Romania. Workaway International sends approximately 1 300 participants to the USA each year, with participants coming from all over the world. In 2018, we sent 670 participants to work at 25 different country clubs in Florida, USA.
It is amazing to witness the candidates’ growth during the recruitment process. Candidates are nervous and hesitant when they attend the presentations, and through the recruitment process we see them gain confidence, experience and so much knowledge. They return from the USA, strong and independent, with such valuable work experience and skills, and all the worldly experiences that come from working in the USA. In addition, they have met people from all over the world and built up a valuable network of industry contacts and lifelong friends.
It is incredibly rewarding to be part of this process, which ultimately changes participants lives for the better. The Workaway International programme is such a great opportunity and stepping stone for those who want to expand and further their careers. Many who have completed the programme have gone on to become restaurant managers, general managers of hotels, executive chefs, restaurant owners, etc.
Reaching 20 years in any business is a milestone but also a testament to the fact that we love what we do. We love making dreams come true and giving South Africans the opportunity to expand their careers abroad. When we started the Workaway International programme we did not know if we would make it past the first or second season and, yet, here we are two decades later!
It would not be possible without all the amazing candidates who apply each year. Being around for 20 years has allowed us to touch and change many lives and for this I am extremely grateful. Looking ahead, I am very excited to meet new, deserving candidates and making even more dreams a reality!