Aleit Academy Events – A Showcase by Our Students

The Aleit Academy events are held every year where students organise and manage it from start to end.

The first year students are responsible for “The Reach for a Dream Gala” and the third year students are planning, organizing and managing “The Jan Kriel Wine Auction.”

These two events help students apply the knowledge and skills obtained through the event management course and give them the hands-on experience to get them comfortable within the events industry.

In this post we showcase the two events to highlight the work our students do and how The Aleit Academy is involved with events such as charity and fundraising.


Aleit Academy Events

1. The Reach for a Dream Gala (1st Year’s)
2. The Jan Kriel Wine Auction (3rd Year’s)

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The Reach for a Dream Gala Event


Every year The Aleit Academy’s first-year students have the opportunity, the honour and the privilege to develop, plan and coordinate the Reach For A Dream, a non-profit organization’s annual charity fundraiser. Here at The Aleit Academy we believe in giving back to our community.

We also believe in giving our students hands-on experience and getting them involved in the real-world business of events management from the get-go – that is why the Reach For A Dream Gala event partnership is a match made in heaven.

Not only do our first-year students have the opportunity to make real-world connections and see an event through from design to execution, but they, alongside The Aleit Academy lecturers, are also able to give back to a worthy cause.

The opportunity to learn on-the-job and be exposed to (and interact with) professionals in various sectors of the events planning and management industry, is a key component in what we believe sets our students apart when they go on to enter the industry after their studies.

The Aleit Academy first years also work alongside vendors and service providers from all associated sectors in the industry including catering, photography, entertainment and many others to ensure that this event turns out successful. This gives them the opportunity to make industry friends from the start of their journey as a first-year student.

To find out more about the Reach For A Dream Foundation, their annual charity fundraiser and The Aleit Academy’s involvement in this special charity project, just keep reading.



The Nitty Gritty: All About the Reach For A Dream Foundation and their Annual Charity Fundraiser

The Reach For A Dream Foundation is a non-profit organisation that supports and enables children with life-threatening illnesses to fulfil their biggest dreams – whether they dream of being a Queen for a day or going camping for the first time.

Reach For A Dream believes in helping children heal through the power of love and laughter – offering them an opportunity to forget about the endless hospital visits, needles and their own illness, even if just for one day.

Every year, the Reach For A Dream Foundation hosts an eventful Gala Event. This Gala Event is the foundation’s annual fundraiser and the earnings raised are what enables the Foundation to make dreams come true for another financial year.

The event culminates in an exciting auction and has various raffle prizes up for grabs throughout the night. Live entertainment ensures that spirits are high with numerous artists enthral and entertain the guests of honour.



The Reach For A Dream Foundation’s Gala event is an opportunity for some of their biggest donors and sponsors to rub shoulders with the RFADF board of directors. This includes the RFADF chairman, who is always in attendance, and who looks forward to the gala event every year.

With some of the biggest names in South African philanthropy and philantropic giving in attendance every year, The Aleit Academy is proud to do their part in supporting the Reach For A Dream Foundation.


How are we involved?

The Aleit Academy first became involved with the Reach For A Dream Foundation in 2012 and our first years have been handling the foundation’s Gala as their annual project ever since.

In the partnership’s infancy, first years were responsible for assisting the RFADF in coming up with the theme and creative ideas for the event and in the years since, our first years’ role has grown to include the coordination of the gala event as well.

Always looking for ways and means of giving back to our community, this partnership with the RFADF had given The Aleit Academy the opportunity to support an amazing cause while offering our students an invaluable platform and opportunity to put theory into practice.


How do they do it?

– Our Students’ Involvement, Roles and Responsibilities

Every year the new Aleit Academy first years are given the opportunity to work on one of two charity events as their annual project. One of the potential projects they can opt to participate in is the Reach For A Dream Foundation Gala Event.
The Reach For A Dream Foundation Gala Event team is then made up of approximately half of The Aleit Academy first years. This big group is then divided into smaller teams so each and every student knows exactly what he or she is individually responsible for.

Each small group is initially provided with the same brief from the client and asked to put together a concept proposal for the event in order for their group to formally present to the client.

This friendly competition amongst small groups simulates the real world environment in which event planners and coordinators compete with others in the industry to win the bid to coordinate the event. Once the small teams have presented their pitch to the client, the client will select their favourite ideas amongst the numerous presentations.

It is important to note that the presentation includes developing the concept for the event and designing invitations, stationery, booking entertainment etc. so that each small group essentially has the opportunity to plan the entire function themselves, even if it is not their initial ideas and thoughts the client has selected.
This also gives groups and group members the opportunity to assess in which area they shine as individuals, allowing them to play to their strengths as well as improving in areas they need to improve later on in the game and in the event industry going forward.



Once the RFADF board have chosen their favourite concept, the winning small group is given the go-ahead to start planning the event. This means they can go ahead and execute the plan they presented to the RFADF and start contacting and confirming industry specialists.

Our tailor-made courses and classes perfectly prepares our first years for the transition from classroom to boardroom and coordination of the RFADF annual charity fundraiser always goes off without a hitch!


– The Planning Phase – Who Is Doing What?

While we try to give our first years as realistic a taste of the real world as possible, The Aleit Academy Reach for a Dream project managers, a team of four students responsible for making the bigger decisions and for delegating the tasks that need to be completed, are always supported by one of The Aleit Academy’s lecturers who keeps in constant contact with the official RFADF team.

The four students are, however, left to manage their team (the rest of the first year students) and ensure that they remain involved through completing smaller tasks and sourcing and service providers.


– Where Do They Start?

In order to coordinate and execute a successful gala event, it is important that our first year students understand the needs and objectives of their client, the Reach For a Dream Foundation.

Our students are given this opportunity and are encouraged to ask questions in order to understand the needs and expectations of the client. The lines of communication with the client are always kept open to ensure that the team stays on the right track as the planning and coordination of the event unfolds.

At The Aleit Academy, we teach our students the following 5 steps of successful event planning, to ensure that any event will run smoothly and go according to plan:

The Event Brief:

  1. The initial discussion of event goals and objectives
  2. Event Design
  3. Planning
  4. Execution
  5. Evaluation

These 5 steps allow our students to plan and coordinate; events each and every time!

Our students have the opportunity to learn from experience; the best way to plan an event from start to finish is to always keep the end in mind. By Keeping the event day and the event design in mind from start to finish, it is easier to bring all the pieces together as you approach your event day.
Tasks are delegated and the event is deconstructed into sections for which different team members are responsible for. As long as everyone keeps the final product in mind, the bringing together of all the sections will create a smooth-running event.



– The Process and Event Timeline

The students are responsible for the execution of the event in their first year. We don’t believe in throwing anyone into the deep end before we’ve taught them to swim, therefore our students are responsible for events that take place only towards the end of their first year.

This means that The Aleit Academy has already provided them with all the skills and insight necessary to plan the event in theory before they’re asked to execute the plan in practice

The RFAD event is a formal affair with many delegates and respected sponsors, it is a great way for our students to end the year off with a bang!


Ultimately, the Reach For A Dream Foundation’s Gala event has always been a firm favourite amongst our first year students.

Our students are and can be proud of how they have put their theoretical knowledge in practice and they get to see first-hand what it feels like to oversee a project from initiation to execution.

It is always an absolute pleasure for our Aleit Academy lecturers to see the students’ events turn out to be a major success. We are immensely proud of what our students prove themselves capable of by the end of their first year of study with us. We look forward to seeing how they will prove themselves, again and again, with the planning of their next big event.

The Aleit Academy looks forward to involving our students in many more of these events in the future.


List of vendors that help organize the events:

RFAD, The Aleit AcademyOkasie StellenboschTable Cloth Hire,

Happy Tree Lawn GamesJack n Jill Event HiringCape TentsDarling BrewBar Craft


The Jan Kriel Wine Auction

The Aleit Academy is proud to have been involved in coordinating and executing the Jan Kriel School’s annual fundraising event for the past 6 years in a row – a double hat-trick if we do say so ourselves!

This annual fundraising effort is highly anticipated each year, not only by the Jan Kriel School as beneficiary, but also by The Aleit Academy 3rd years, who have the unique opportunity to put theory into practice and hone their craft while giving back to their community at the same time.

In an effort to prepare our 3rd years once and for all for the real-world events management industry, they are responsible for all elements of managing this event, from concept proposal to invitation design, event planning, supplier management and the running of the event on the night.

We believe that this hands-on experience is what sets The Aleit Academy’s graduates apart, and our 3rd years continue to deliver year after year! In collaboration with the matriculates from Jan Kriel, the 3rd years execute a seamless experience for all in attendance each year and do their lecturers, and The Aleit Academy proud.



More About the Jan Kriel Wine Auction: A Timeline

In 1993 dominee Francois Cillie and his lawyer friend, Theunis Hofmeyr, connected with three prominent winemakers (Jan Boland Coetzee, Neil Ellis and Braam van Velden) in order to curate an auction to raise some much needed funds for the Jan Kriel School; a school which assists children with disabilities in learning and reaching their full potential. Perhaps a humble beginning, but from the get-go a quality cause.

In 1994, Dave Hughes got involved in the fundraising efforts as auctioneer; and Dave had an influence on the quality of the donated wine. Thanks to their combined efforts, they were even able to duplicate a Jan Kriel Wine Auction at the International Wine Trade Fair in London!

As the event grew in popularity, the Jan Kriel Wine Auction began to attract bigger and bigger names in the philanthropic world, and the School Hall, where the event had traditionally been held, began to burst at the seams – that’s when Aleit Swanepoel stepped in to save the day. In 2012 Aleit first became involved in the planning and execution of the wine auction and the quality of the styling of the event took a turn for the world-class!

True to his charitable nature, Aleit Swanepoel made the students of the Aleit Academy and his network of service providers available to the Jan Kriel School at no cost. The event moved to the spectacular settings of Lourensford and Laurent. In fact, one of the most valued lot at the Auction is an evening of wining and dining with Aleit!

Everyone involved in helping realise the Jan Kriel Wine Auction every year is proud to host and/or be involved in one of the most stunning charitable occasions of the year. Helping the Jan Kriel School in its ongoing mission to provide quality education to children that live with disabilities is both an honour and a privilege.



Fun Facts

  • Jan Kriel School is 80 years old and was officially voted the best Special Needs School in South Africa.
  • The generosity at the Wine Auction is incredible. In 2015 The Wine Auction raised a profit of R700 000 within 2.5 hours!
  • This event is the highlight of their school year for the Jan Kriel School hospitality students. Under the guidance and leadership of the Aleit Academy Students, the Jan Kriel School hospitality students do the waitering at the fundraiser.
  • The loyalty of the patrons of the Jan Kriel Auction is unmatched anywhere in the world. Approximately 80{f347acf84a8b8db98d179f2eaddf83c4ec6f82a3ad51fffdab878a7f5e55516f} of those involved and in attendance have been showing their support for no shorter than a decade!


Vendors that help organize the event:

Presentation StagingCoffee RightA|CreateMonique Smiles PhotographyTop TableLaurent Venue,

In&Out SAGerry Liberty entertainmentStir FoodTable cloth hiring companyShake and Serve