Job cre­ation all sewn up

Vuk'uzenzele - - Women's Month - Hlengiwe Ngob­ese

A Pro­vIn­CIAl train­ing pro­gramme is set to help ru­ral KwaZulu-Na­tal women break into the cloth­ing in­dus­try.

The lives of un­em­ployed women from poverty-stricken com­mu­ni­ties around Dur­ban are set to change for the bet­ter. A pro­gramme run by the KwaZulu-Na­tal De­part­ment of Arts and Cul­ture, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Dur­ban fash­ion de­signer Greg Wal­lis and Ji­rah Fash­ion Fac­tory, has given them an op­por­tu­nity to be­gin work in the cloth­ing in­dus­try.

At the be­gin­ning of June, the women be­gan five weeks of the­o­ret­i­cal and prac­ti­cal train­ing. The train­ing in­cluded an in­tro­duc­tion to de­sign and pat­tern-mak­ing, work­ing on a ma­chine as well as other cloth­ing and textile-re­lated func­tions. Each trainee will be is­sued with a cer­tifi­cate at the end of the work­shop.

This is the se­cond group of women to un­dergo train­ing, and the num­ber of ap­pli­ca­tions had grown since the first train­ing pro­gramme ran last year.

De­signer Wal­lis ex­plained: “Par­tic­i­pants are split into two groups, ro­tat­ing les­son times be­tween morn­ing and af­ter­noon. Half of the 2016/17 par­tic­i­pants have since found em­ploy­ment, some at the Ji­rah Fash­ion Fac­tory.”


One the par­tic­i­pants, Batho­bile Zin­cube, 38, en­cour­aged ru­ral women to grab op­por­tu­ni­ties like this be­cause they were rare. “I was sit­ting help­less at home with­out a job. But now I am em­ployed here at the Ji­rah Fash­ion Fac­tory. The money I will be get­ting will help me to pro­vide for my kids and look af­ter my­self,” she said.

An­other par­tic­i­pant, Nomb­i­fik­ile Mtolo, 44, said she was thank­ful for the chance to be part of the train­ing. “I am not look­ing for em­ploy­ment but I will cre­ate em­ploy­ment my­self. I am plan­ning to man­u­fac­ture school uni­forms, clothes, cloth­ing peg bags and bed­ding. The skills that we have got here will help us pro­vide for our fam­i­lies. We thank the gov­ern­ment for con­sid­er­ing us ru­ral women in op­por­tu­ni­ties like this,” she said.

A hand up

The ini­tia­tive, which forms part of gov­ern­ment’s Com­pre­hen­sive Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment Pro­gramme, aims to tackle un­der­de­vel­op­ment, food se­cu­rity, un­em­ploy­ment, poverty and other so­cial ills preva­lent in ru­ral ar­eas.

De­part­ment of Arts and Cul­ture MEC Bongiwe Sit­holeMoloi said the ini­tia­tive would cre­ate a well-trained, re­li­able work­force in the cloth­ing in­dus­try.

“The project is in line with gov­ern­ment strate­gies to build an in­clu­sive econ­omy and cre­ate jobs. We are de­ter­mined to see pre­vi­ously dis­ad­van­taged peo­ple like women tak­ing charge of their lives and be­ing ac­tive par­tic­i­pants in the growth and de­vel­op­ment of the prov­ince’s econ­omy.

“We are proud of the strides be­ing made by the project. Trainees could find en­try-level salary jobs in the cloth­ing in­dus­try us­ing the train­ing they are re­ceiv­ing, which will as­sist in al­le­vi­at­ing un­em­ploy­ment and poverty,” she said.

Batho­bile Zin­cube putting her skills to work.

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