Chrislynn Sias | 8 July 2023
When people apply for employment, they find most employers require job experience. And when you have just completed your high school career, the only experience you have is sitting in a classroom.
At the end of June,119 learners graduated from the Cape Skills and Employment Accelerator – a City of Cape Town-funded project, administered by the Craft + Design Institute (CDI).
The project focuses on creating employment opportunities for youth and women in the clothing and textile industry in Cape Town.
The group of 119 received their National Qualifications Framework-level training certificates from Boland College and the Cape Town Work Based Learning Academy, which marks a final milestone of success on the project.
The first 17 graduates completed their learnerships on the project last year.
One of the previous graduates who participated in the project is Tiana Daniels. She is currently a professional model and content creator, in the process of establishing her own personal enterprise.
“I began this programme directly following my completion of high school, so I was essentially unaware of what to anticipate. However, it has proven to be an invaluable experience, as I’ve learnt a diverse range of valuable skills, from time management to properly altering a garment.”
According to Daniels, the programme has broadened her horizons with a plethora of opportunities and inspiring ideas.
“For instance, I have discovered an interest in the business side of the fashion industry, which has motivated me to pursue a degree in business management.”
Daniels said in addition to her acquiring proficiency in sewing, her educational journey has encompassed a “multitude of invaluable skills within the industry”.
“This includes being able to accurately determine the cost of a garment and acquiring the ability to skilfully thread any sewing machine. Such knowledge has increased my capability of understanding various aspects within the field.”
Erica Elk, group CEO of the CDI, said the outcome had been a remarkable success, given the project started during the Covid-19 pandemic. She said they had initiated the project in the midst of a very difficult period for employment creation and for businesses trading in the creative industries.
“We are proud of the outcome, through which so many young women have gained an NQF4 Learnership qualification as a machinist. While they were learning, 27 CDI member SMMEs hosted the learners by providing the site for workplace learning to take place, and hopefully with a job at the end of each learner’s 12-month journey,” said Elk.
She added that it was not just a skills development project for youth. The CDI placed emphasis on the development of each business and their capacity to grow.
Alderman James Vos, the City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee member for Economic Growth, said the project was designed to respond to a skills need in Cape Town’s high growth industries and the needs of youths wanting to become part of the City’s workforce.
According to Vos, there is a direct correlation between South Africa’s unemployment crisis – which largely affects the youth – and the dearth of valuable skills.
‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’.