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20 Years Strong: How Birchwood Continues To Grow As A Conferencing And Accommodation Giant

Birchwood Hotel & OR Tambo Conference Centre celebrates 20 years of hospitality excellence. We look at how Birchwood has continued to maintain and expand its impressive offering.

Birchwood

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As we approach the end of an incredible two years for The Birchwood Hotel & OR Tambo Conference Centre – a hospitality hub minutes from OR Tambo – Kevin Clarence and his team never cease to observe and pursue measures to further enhance this award-winning, unique and incredible product offering.

20 Years of hospitality excellence

To say that it has been a successful two years for Birchwood is an understatement. 2018 marked twenty years in hospitality for the conferencing and accommodation giant, and the property and product offering has never been as impressive, vast and varied as it currently is today.

Birchwood has listened to client feedback and adapted, updated and renovated the facility to cater for every market and any specification ranging from the individual business traveler, all the way to the larger conference group.

“We would not have reached this twenty-year milestone without the support and loyalty of our client base, and producing this upgraded product offering is our way of saying thank you,” says Director and Founder of Birchwood Hotel, Kevin Clarence.

8 Impressive and versatile conference venues

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The latest enhancement is Birchwood’s newly re-opened Domestic Centre. Located conveniently adjacent to the hotel’s Main Reception, and very close to the BC Café (named after Birchwood’s late co-founder, Brian Clarence) as well as the Business Centre and shuttle pick-up point, for free trips to and from OR Tambo and the East Rand Mall, the Domestic Centre is home to eight impressive and versatile conference venues.

 

These venues, set among the beautiful aesthetics of the Centre, house capacities that range from an intimate boardroom of ten, to a larger group of up to 300 in a cinema-style seating arrangement.

The new visuals and decor in each venue are only the beginning. Birchwood’s ‘Relax, Do Business’ ethos is exemplified in the Centre’s lobby that has an abundance of comfortable seating options to catch up on your emails or browse the Internet using Birchwood’s new WiFi connectivity infrastructure.

Free, fast and world-class Internet access

“We know the importance of staying connected, whether in your conference or outside of it. It’s no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity,” says Clarence. More than a million rand has been invested in creating and offering an unrivalled Internet facility, which is now free, fast and world-class.

Related: 8 Codes Of Success That Helped Priven Reddy of Kagiso Interactive Media Achieve A Networth Of Over R4 Billion

“Birchwood is nowhere near the beach, but we’ve got the best surf,” says Digital Marketing Manager, Greg Hoffmann. The free offering is more than capable of allowing for a seamless browsing, social media or general use experience, but Birchwood can also offer dedicated conference WiFi packages, giving groups their very own network tailor-tailor-made to their needs.

Keep your brand front and centre

Take your conference a step further by making use of the digital signage options outside your venue. Showcase key information to your delegates when they arrive, or keep it simple by ensuring your logo prominent. It’s just another way that Birchwood allows you to augment your conference experience, and impress your group.

Come see us in action – a free shuttle and drink’s on us

It’s doesn’t end there. The paradigm of dining in the same venue for breakfast, lunch and dinner is unacceptable in Birchwood’s book. Stay for a multi-day conference or accommodation experience, and you could enjoy a different dining venue every single day.

Every one of Birchwood’s five restaurants carries a different theme and feel, as well as menu. From the modern, yet rustic Boma — a palatial, semi-outdoor venue with a tapas menu and stunning water feature — all the way to a formal steakhouse with a legendary wine selection, at The Grill at OneTwenty.

Add the renowned Mangwanani Spa and pool area, as well as Hotspot Bar — a sports fan’s dream with fresh draughts and cinematic screens, and you truly have a hub that is unmatched in Southern Africa.

“It’s incredibly important to us, that your board members don’t become ‘bored’ members,” says Clarence. “Why not jump on to our free shuttle from OR Tambo, after enjoying a free coffee at our Airport Waiting Lounge, and allow us to show you why there is simply nothing like Birchwood.”

Related: 5 Key Areas Pratley Are Using For Current And Future Growth

Birchwood Hotel and Conference Venue is a one-stop facility for the booming South African business sector situated just 10km from OR Tambo International Airport. Birchwood offers 665 rooms in Birchwood, Silverbirch and ValuStay collectively, and is able to accommodate the largest of conference groups. Adding to your experience is a selection of restaurants, evening entertainment and recreational facilities, including a gym, Mangwanani Spa & pool.

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BEE

LFP Training – The ‘Agents’ Of Transformation

Implemented correctly, BEE has the potential to change the current status of South Africa’s economy. Add to that LFP Group’s focus on helping corporates to boost employee skills and engagement and upskill disadvantaged people across the country, and Louis Pulzone is aiming to make a real difference.

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LFP training

LFP Training is the leading provider of BEE aligned turnkey skills development training in South Africa, delivering innovative, industry-first learnership programmes to educate and upskill abled and disabled individuals in line with the BEE codes of good conduct.

LFP Training’s fully accredited learnerships are strictly aligned to BEE guidelines and allow companies to implement skills development.

To date, more than 700 companies have actively benefited from LFP Training’s solutions, reaching their desired target spend at a fraction of the cost. This solution is the most cost-effective way of implementing BEE initiatives while gaining maximum points.

The team at LFP Training comprises industry experts and combines years of experience with a passion for transformation, education and making a difference.

Today, both unemployed and employed, disabled and able-bodied people in all industries are actively benefiting and contributing to society, thanks to LFP Training’s turnkey training solutions and strategic partnerships. 

In South Africa’s tough economic environment, where unemployment levels are so high, how is LFP an ‘agent of transformation’?

It’s no secret that times are still tough in South Africa. Our economic inequality is one of the highest in the world and unemployment is still a massive concern.

While this is nothing new, the good news is that it has forced us to become more resilient and find new strategies. At a time like this, we need to invest in our people and kick-start the economy again. At LFP Group, we look to new strategies, growth and the upliftment of people to help shape the future. Being agents of transformation means that we look towards solutions for a better South Africa for tomorrow.

We also recognise that government cannot do everything. Our goal as LFP Group is to be a leader in our industry, helping government achieve its goals for reducing unemployment. Our aim is to forge ahead with a great public-private partnership strategy.

Related: Black-Owned Businesses Need BEE Compliance

What role do you play in transforming South Africa? Why is this important?

With the shortfall in education, responsibility has fallen on corporates to provide opportunities and to upskill employees. Many companies are filling the gap between what has been previously learnt and what is required in a practical job function.

By partnering with corporates, LFP can help companies to achieve their BEE objectives and gain access to rebates, while providing education in the form of learnerships. The stipend provided by corporates to learners is invaluable in mobilising learners to grow, learn and fill roles, while having financial security.

By providing a turnkey solution, all parties benefit from our all-encompassing approach — both on and off campus.

Each solution is accredited and optimised to ensure that both the learner and the business benefit from the skills acquired. Our offering has expanded over the years based on demand for further skills development and quality education.

As LFP Group we do not only consider transformation as a process of change and opportunities for individual employment; we see it as a way of transforming attitudes and creating hope for a nation that truly needs and aspires to be that country that does not live in the past, but acts in the future. We believe that transformation is the duty not only of state and politics, but every South African. We started by transforming our Group first, and now our vision has shifted to our country.

Why did you launch LFP? What was your goal, and how have you realised that goal?

Having recognised a critical gap for skills development to help address unemployment in South Africa’s ever-changing economic landscape, I founded turnkey training provider LFP Training in 2013.

The company’s innovative programmes are aimed at educating and upskilling people who have disabilities and who are unemployed, in line with the country’s BEE Codes of Good Conduct. More than this, I am truly committed to transforming not just the employment and skills development side, but my country’s quest for transformation. LFP Group is a platform where I could achieve that objective. I also believe in creating a winning team that echoes my vision and shares my passion to deliver that goal.

With more than a decade’s experience in the education industry, I am passionate about making a difference through education and saw a gap in the market for innovative training programmes aimed at educating and upskilling. By partnering with corporates, we have trained more than

7 000 learners with an excess of 700 clients paying R70 million in stipends directly to learners in stipends or salaries; this has resulted in a 100% pass rate in their BEE verification audits. This has a tangible impact on unemployment in South Africa.

Why is investing in people the single most important thing that businesses can do?

Addressing staff development and training is often low on the list of business priorities — but the relationship an organisation has with its employees can directly impact commercial success. Continuously evaluating, refining and improving your greatest asset — your people — can maximise their potential and bring wider business benefits; not least that individuals are happier and more motivated, and therefore more productive. In a recent survey on adult learning, 41% of respondents indicated that further education helped them improve the skills they needed to do their jobs.

Continually training staff means more of them will have up-to-date and relevant skills, which are valued and respected by the industry.

Continuing to develop staff not only adds value to the company, strengthens the workforce and improves workplace efficiency — it also improves job satisfaction, encourages loyalty and ensures commitment to the success of the business. Another final piece of our human investment capital is adding value to our internal staff, and that of all the clients and leaders of the companies we serve. LFP Group has created a specialised IP and as a leader in the industry I believe that we must educate and invest in the people we’re associated with.

Related: Scoring BEE Points

How should business owners and executive teams view training?

Education is a fundamental right, and everyone should have access to it. With a passion for education, I always look to a quote by Nelson Mandela, a true advocate for education: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

This could not be truer. The private sector is having to fill the gaps in education and companies need to innovate to provide opportunities. In the fields of STEM there is a critical skills shortage, and we need to work together to empower and advance our country and its people. One of the most critical tasks we’ve focused on is training the leaders of industry.

Many business owners, CEOs and senior management, even shareholders of corporates, fear the mention of BEE and Transformation. The reason is simple: South Africa is not transformed enough, and this is part of our vision. We must ensure that as much as we service our clients and provide the services LFP Group has set out to do, we are slowly but surely penetrating the leadership market to educate and prepare them for transformation.

The policies of BEE are constantly in the spotlight because of the opportunities it can provide. By embracing it, companies and people are able to benefit from it wholly.

What is the role of BEE in South Africa? Why should businesses embrace it?

If implemented correctly, BEE has the potential to change the current status of our economy. B-BBEE addresses transformation in South Africa through ownership and management in companies, upskilling of employed and unemployed people and growth of the economy and smaller enterprises through enterprise and supplier development.

Investment in B-BBEE and compliance creates massive business opportunities for your organisation in the form of public sector contracts and business from other B-BBEE compliant companies. This provides a competitive edge.

As LFP Group we recognise that BEE and transformation in the labour and corporate sector, will be with us for a long time. As an industry leader we must be on top of our game and always be at the forefront of knowing our industry, and more vitally what is to come. This will allow us to address the historical imbalances and assure that all citizens in our country have skills and an opportunity for a long-lasting and sustainable job.

What does LFP Campus do?

The LFP Campus is a blended online learnership platform that makes it possible for clients to gain substantial points towards their skills development spend in line with the BEE codes.

Applicable to all industries, this popular offering avoids downtime and loss of productivity, while supporting flexibility, thanks to a blended online offering which can be undertaken outside of working hours.

LFP Training has not only aligned its online initiative to the BEE codes but also made it possible for clients to do so at a fraction of the cost — all while being eligible for government initiatives such as tax rebates, youth subsidies and other grants.

Clients are now able to claim the salary of an enrolled employee for the full duration of the learnership without compromising on their business’s operational requirements.

Clients can also claim more than 500% of the actual spend towards their skills development target spend.

LFP Group’s offerings

Youth Employment Services Implementation Programme

A staggering six million youth aged between 18 and 34 are still unemployed and this is the exact reason why LFP Group is coming to the fore.

With the Youth Employment Service (YES) initiative — officially gazetted on 28 August 2018 — aimed at creating one million jobs within the next three years, companies can now earn additional BEE benefits.

The LFP Group, in support of the YES programme, recognises the critical role that South Africa’s youth play in shaping the economy and our country. LFP now offers YES programme management implementation to benefit clients and individuals.

The offering includes:

  • Comprehensive assessment of the employer to determine YES eligibility and management of the entire project.
  • Recruitment of the youth and full registration of recruited youth onto the YES initiative.
  • Registration of the client on the YES initiative.
  • Coaching, mentorship, a personal development plan and key performance indicators.
  • Access to permanent placement opportunities for youth not absorbed upon completion of the YES initiative after 12 months.
  • Compilation of verification file containing supporting evidence for YES and B-BBEE recognition.

Related: BBBEE Employee Share Schemes – Should I Or Not?

LFP Permanent Placements

LFP’s attentive team of trained experts source talent in line with a company’s B-BBEE scale and predominantly recruit for roles in the fields of administration, healthcare, technology, retail and start-up hiring.

With a clear understanding of each clients’ needs and objectives, LFP Permanent Placements has a proven track record with a project completion rate of 97% and the remaining 3% attributed to unforeseen circumstances such as project shutdowns, health issues, relocation etc.

LFP Payroll

More than learnerships, LFP prides itself in providing its clients with a turnkey solution. For this reason, LFP not only handles recruitment, training, facilitation and paperwork for learners, but also takes care of outsourced payroll requirements.

LFP Group has a dedicated and trained administration team to handle the day-to-day management of a company’s learners’ stipends, temporary employees and permanent employees.

BEE CONNEX

Changing and adding suppliers is a complicated and tedious task, but as a company’s BEE needs evolve to meet the demands of new legislation and accommodate further company growth, the need for more knowledgeable and reputable suppliers becomes inevitable.

BEE-Connex is a first of its kind app, changing the way South Africa does business in the BEE industry.

It’s as simple as downloading the BEE-Connex app and signing up to the biggest and most reputable network in South Africa. Here clients receive a host of benefits including:

  • Enjoying hassle-free BEE.
  • Getting connected to the right supplier in just a few simple steps.
  • Gaining access to a comprehensive network of verified suppliers who understand and can meet your specific needs.
  • An easy, cost-effective solution to gain maximum points.

Visit www. lfptraining.co.za for more information

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Company Posts

Choose A Job You Love, And You Will Never Have To Work A Day In Your Life

Join Col’Cacchio’s 26-year-long love story.

Col'Cacchio

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Vital Stats

  • Joining fee: R125 000
  • Monthly management fee: 6% of turnover
  • Monthly marketing fee: 2% of turnover
  • Total investment: approx. R2.5m to R4.2m (turnkey) Size: 140m2 to 350m2
  • Unencumbered cash (before loan): 50% of total investment

(Above figures exclude VAT) 

“Owning your own restaurant is like owning your own future.” – Dominic Dempers, Franchisee Durbanville, Belvedere & Meadowridge Cape Town

We’re looking for passionate franchisees who will love our brand as much as we do.

Why you should join this delicious success story

colcacchio-pizza-franchise-dessert

  • Assistance with site selection & lease negotiation
  • Store design & build
  • Full training provided for management and staff
  • Marketing & operational support
  • Product innovation & menu development
  • Efficiency in all systems
  • Healthy margins.

Related: 300 Business Ideas To Inspire You Into Entrepreneurship

#FoodwithaStory

“Our journey started with a single restaurant on the foreshore with the aim to serve the very best pizza around” – Greg Mommsen, Business Developer Director

“Watching this brand grow and empowering people has been immensely rewarding. We have staff that have been with us for over 20 years. It’s like a family, we work hard, we laugh, we cry, we celebrate and of course, we eat a lot of pizza.” – Michael Terespolsky, Founder and Managing Director

“Becoming a franchisee is an amazing opportunity to join the family and become part of the Col’Cacchio success story. We’re 100% behind out franchises at every step, making sure that we all continue to learn and flourish” – Greg Mommsen, Business Developer Director 

“It has been filled with challenges along the way, but all the rewards have made every moment worth it.” – Michael Terespolsky, Founder and Managing Director

Related: Got An Awesome New Business Idea? Here’s What To Do Next

Visit www.colcacchio.co.za or call Tarryn Godley on 084 800 7264 and let’s get this adventure going.

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Travel At The Touch Of A Button

The revolutionary Travelit app has been developed for the global marketplace to meet your business travel needs.

Tourvest

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Travelit has launched an easy-to-use mobile app that simplifies the trip approval process, provides a full trip itinerary and assists in management of travel expenses.

“The app is designed in South Africa, for the African and global marketplace,” says Wayne Muirhead Chief Sales Officer at Travelit. “We have developed the app locally with our own developers, and opted not to use a white labelling solution.”

The app interface enables the requirements of travellers, approvers, users, as well as finance and procurement role players to be met so each trip is seamlessly planned and executed.

Stress-free financial administration

“Expense management is an integral part of the complete travel cost; businesses want to understand their complete travel bill,” says Wayne. This is why the app incorporates features that facilitate:

  • Capturing of photographs of receipts real-time
  • Immediate allocation of expenses to the correct description
  • Uploading expenses for workflow approval
  • Attachment of an expense to a travel trip, or generating a non-travel related expense.

Simplified trip approval process

In addition, approvers’ features enable simple visibility into the trip’s cost and details:

  • Approval of booking requests
  • Trip confirmation once trip has been successfully approved
  • Managing alerts — approval notifications, pre-trip notification as well as travel notifications
  • Out of office activation for approvers.

Related: How Travelit Makes Travelling Affordable For Small Businesses

Trip management made easy

With Travelit’s new app, travellers have the ability to update, create new profiles directly from their phones and update and store all their information, including:

  • Updating of profile details
  • Personal information
  • Visas, passports, meal types, seating preferences
  • Loyalty programmes.

As a traveller, when you are travelling, you require information, updates and access to your travel documentation in real time. The Trip Manager function provides you with this through the following functions:

  • View current, pending and past trips
  • Trip itinerary information
  • View trips that are awaiting approval
  • View supplier vouchers
  • Locate properties via the Map option
  • Boarding passes are available
  • Real-time alerts to travellers.

Related: Save Up To 25% On Your Travel Costs

Happy travels

“We have done a soft launch with the app and offered it to strategic users and clients within our ecosystem,” says Wayne. These corporates have enjoyed the functions within the app, such as:

  • Real time information for the traveller (itineraries, vouchers, boarding passes)
  • Approval notifications and the approval capability
  • Notifications
  • Contact information for the consultants after-hours, and assistance
  • Access to the traveller profile to ensure their data is updated and correct
  • Check-in to the airline.

The Travelit app is available in the Google Play Store and iOS Store. Travelit will make monthly app releases by offering users ongoing functionality and features.

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