Philippi’s upholsterers taught tools of trade

2016-03-24 06:00
 Consol’s Thami Mkhuzangwe (Suit with no tie) and mineral resources’ director Nwabisa Mgcotyelwa (maroon top) with guests and learners at the launch of the skills development project at the Furntech Centre in Crossroads.  PHOTO: Mandla Mahashe

Consol’s Thami Mkhuzangwe (Suit with no tie) and mineral resources’ director Nwabisa Mgcotyelwa (maroon top) with guests and learners at the launch of the skills development project at the Furntech Centre in Crossroads. PHOTO: Mandla Mahashe

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An upholstery skills development project to the value of R5 million was launched in Crossroads recently.

The glass manufacturing industry is providing the funding to up-skill women and youth aged between 18 and 35 in the art of upholstery.

The project will be run by the Furniture Technology Centre (Furntech) and is aimed at empowering the incumbents to start their own small businesses in future.

According to Consol Group Human Resources Director, Thami Mkhuzangwe, the project will teach 12 students each year and the first batch of learners has already started training.

On the day of the launch, they even showed some of the skills they have acquired so far.

“This initiative is at the core of addressing one of the triple challenges facing our society and communities, with specific reference to the stubborn levels of unemployment.

We are humbled and yet excited to be part of the project, a partnership between the department of mineral resources, the City of Cape Town and Furntech,” he said.

It was also revealed during the launch that the project is also part of Consol Glass’s application for mining rights in Philippi.

“We don’t see this as a short term intervention, but the beginning of a long-term partnership. One that will bring about real change, and make a sustainable contribution in the socio- economic upliftment of the beneficiaries and immediate communities,” said Mkhuzangwe.

The department of mineral resources’ assistant director, Nwabisa Mgcotyelwa, said that the programme will not just uplift communities but it needed to be sustainable..

“The learners will not just be skilled in making upholstery but they will be equipped with the ability to start their own self-sustaining businesses.

We are very happy with the establishment of this project,” she said.

One of the guestst was Nobelungu Pontshi, a business woman who had attended a similar programme at the centre, who said that such projects are crucial for skills development.

Pontshi, owns Liwa Laphakade Manufacturing, which makes coffins and also operates as an undertakes.

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