Students to represent TUT at Future Leaders Challenge

26 September 2023

Four students, two from the Tshwane University of Technology’s Department of Hospitality Management and two from the Department of Tourism Management will participate at the annual Middle East and Africa Future Leaders Challenge, taking place in Dubai from 23 to 26 January 2024. The event will be hosted by the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management, which was founded by Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts in 2001.

Kabelo Modikwe, Shaun Thole, Witness Mphogo and Khomotso Mohuba are very excited to participate in the challenge and agreed that it is likely to improve their leadership skills. In addition, it will give them an opportunity to work abroad and demonstrate that TUT really produces future ready graduates who are up for the challenges of the world of work. Students had to write a motivation explaining what makes them future leaders in the changing tourism and hospitality industry, to be selected for the competition.

Sharing some background about the challenge, Sharon Mukhola, NGap Academic at the Department of Hospitality, said in the finals of the competition, students will develop solutions for real live challenges, which will also guide them to become future leaders in the industry.

“We want our students to be part of the broader tourism industry and understand that education is not just in the classroom but is also in their abilities to interact with other international and local stakeholders, which is why we encouraged them to participate in the challenge,” she said.

Sharon works closely with Dr Portia Sifolo, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Tourism Management, to guide the students to be able to successfully complete the challenge. “We are equally excited as an institution to be part of this type of challenge because our students will be working with industry giants, such as the Hilton Hotels and Raddison Hotel Group. If they do well in the challenge, there will be endless opportunities for internships with big institutions all over the word,” she added.

“For TUT, the benefits of being part of this initiative, is that in line with the National Skills Development Plan Strategy, we prove that we are working with industry to ensure that students are ready for the world of work when they complete their studies,” she continued.  

“Although this is the first time we will participate in the challenge, we hope that this will encourage more and more students to enter such competitions. It is important for our students, especially in our sector, to understand that involvement with industry does not only happen when you complete your studies, even while still studying, you need to network and work with other people,” she said.

Six institutions from South Africa and about 20 from the Middle East will participate in the challenge. All selected students will complete a four-month online programme during which they will be taught how to pitch and how to work in a multicultural environment. Some of the educational topics that will be covered include personal habits, leadership training, blue ocean strategies, design thinking and public speaking.

Our students will be accompanied by Dr Sifolo (Senior Lecturer Tourism Management and Prof Ndivhuwo Tshipala, Assistant Dean of the Faculty of Management Sciences, who will be part of the judging panel during the finals of the challenge in Dubai. 

Pictured are Shaun Thole, Witness Mphogo, Kabelo Modikwe and Khomotso Mohuba who will be taking part in the Middle East and Africa Future Leaders Challenge.

For more information on the Tshwane University of Technology, please contact Phaphama Tshisikhawe, Corporate Affairs and Marketing.
Tel: +27 12 382 4711    Email: