Bearing in mind that Desert Academy is a ‘not-for-profit programme’, the cost of vocational training is significant, - mainly due to high input costs and small class numbers. This is the case the world over and the Desert Academy is no exception, except for providing board and lodging as part of the package.
Like in any business, economies of scale are key and the more trainees ‘in the system’, the lower the unit cost. The challenge is to find the perfect balance between sustainable trainee numbers, a quality education and practical exposure during training. The latter puts a definite ‘cap’ on numbers.
At Desert Academy we have tested the golden mean with our annual intake numbers. It's now limited to 16 trainees. This puts the total number of trainees (ranging from Level 1-3 ) enrolled at approximately 44-48.
How are our funds spent?
Half of the cost budget (48%) is for staff salaries, training materials, uniforms and assessment. Our facilitators /trainee ratio is high. 16 Level 2 trainees have one full-time theory teacher and three practical facilitators (Housekeeping, F&B Service, Commercial Cookery and Front Office). For Level 3, a similar picture emerges (staff/trainee ratio), where input costs increase significantly due to increased practical training in the kitchen.
Most salaries are shared 50/50 between the Foundation and the commercial Wolwedans enterprise.
Overheads account for 24% of costs, where this is mainly for facility rental and utilities (water/power), IT, PR, communication, stationary and audit fees. Trainee board and lodging, plus regular transport to/from Wolwedans (5 trips per year), adds up to a quarter of expenses. Increasing trainee numbers to obtain lower unit costs would significantly hamper the quality of training provided, never mind board and lodging constraints at the Wolwedans Desert Academy.
Below, please find a further breakdown of costs and fees for the 2019 - 2020 academic calendar. Click on the link to view and download the budgets and cost splits.