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Cape Town’s clothing, leatherwear, accessories and textile design companies get support for new jobs for youth and women

14 October 2021 – Over the next three years, up to 60 Cape Town-based creative businesses and 200 learners will benefit from the Cape Skills and Employment Accelerator. Local design companies in need of machinist capacity are urged to submit applications for support until 21 October 2021.

The Cape Skills and Employment Accelerator is focused on creating employment opportunities in SMMEs for youth and women. The project is made possible thanks to the National Skills Fund in collaboration with the City of Cape Town and is implemented by the Craft and Design Institute (CDI).

Businesses will benefit by taking on funded learners who are being trained as machinists for clothing, textiles, soft furnishings, leather and footwear. The learners will receive an NQF2 Certificate in Clothing Production which  includes workplace, as well as classroom, training as part of a 12-month learnership. Business owners are supported through the Accelerator, to develop their human resource capacity – their systems and abilities to create new jobs, recruit new staff, induct and performance manage them.

The learner will spend 75% of the time in the business and 25% of the time in the classroom. The qualification will equip the learner with the skills and knowledge to participate effectively in workplace production and other activities. The skills taught will include pattern making, pattern cutting, garment making, and sewing.

Businesses that are successfully incorporated into the Accelerator will need to provide a workplace learning opportunity for a trainee machinist for 12 months and need to be willing to provide them with on-the-job training specific to the business. An aim, but not a requirement, of the project is that the learner is absorbed into the business after successfully completing the learnership.

Currently there are 14 businesses and 42 learners who are benefitting from the Accelerator thus far. Recipients include Hanover Park’s Baron Design House, a clothing, fashion accessories and jewellery brand. Baron Design House is a sterling example of small business success for women within marginalised communities and demonstrates how an effectively implemented business accelerator programme can catalyse growth.

The Khayelitsha-based clothing company Luspin Production Designs is another example of a local, female-run business that is poised for further growth. Founder Pinkie Luswazi Hlengisa has already taken on four learners through the Accelerator and plans to take on a fifth.

With youth unemployment in the country extremely high, providing certified training and workplace opportunities for unemployed youth and women makes the Accelerator programme all the more relevant.

“This is not just a skills development project,” says Erica Elk, Group CEO of the CDI, “it is also a business development programme. Through the project we work with business owners to build their capacity to create new jobs, take on new staff and manage them productively. By doing so we hope to create more conducive environments for businesses to grow – to not only host trainees but to absorb them once the learnership is completed – and to repeat the exercise as their businesses grow. Our ultimate aim is to grow the participating business for long-term sustainability – that’s where job creating growth is going to come from.”

The City of Cape Town’s Enterprise and Investment Department funds Strategic Business Partners, such as the CDI, in high-growth sectors to secure the skills pipelines businesses need to succeed. According to the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management, Alderman James Vos: “SMMEs will be able to create a job profile to suit their individual business needs and recruit participants from the learnerships with little cost to the business. Thanks to tax rebates and incentives, a business can reduce the cost even further.”

Small businesses that are on the verge of increasing their production capacity, are strongly encouraged to apply for support. These businesses will be able to use the Accelerator to upskill new staff and scale their business whilst receiving support from the CDI. Businesses will be able to recruit their own learners. These learners will need to be recruited from Cape Town but can work anywhere in the province. 

For application enquiries, please contact Moshibudi Piet via email: moshibudi.piet@thecdi.org.za.

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