Czech deal to boost textile expertise

2008-06-15 00:00

THE provincial Finance and Economic Development Department has concluded an agreement with a Czech Republic university to train hundreds of students studying towards specialised careers in the textile industry.

The deal concluded on Thursday last week by a delegation led by MEC Zweli Mkhize and Pewel Jancik, the director of industry projects and training at Liberec University, is already being hailed as a first step in turning the ailing industry around, and follows the MEC’s visit to the Czech Republic in May this year.

Mkhize said the textile industry in KZN is the second largest employer after the Western Cape’s. It is estimated that some 50 000 people are currently employed in the sector in KwaZulu-Natal.

He said that the government has been concerned about the industry for some time and had identified the shortage of technical expertise as one of the main challenges that needs urgent attention.

“We have been struggling to revive this major employer of workers in the province. This was therefore a timely intervention as training that the students will be getting [at Liberec] is nothing that we can offer in this country,” Mkhize said.

Apart from the shortage of skilled employees the industry is faced with a litany of other challenges, including competition from the east. Mkhize gave the assurance that the government was also looking at ways in which these challenges facing the industry can be addressed, but would not divulge any details.

The training programme for students ranges from two-year post-graduate courses to six-week short courses at the university and will cater for over 130 students over a three year period. A further 1 000 employees are set to benefit from the one week seminars to be conducted in the province.

The details of the selection criteria are still to be defined by the textile cluster, which comprises representatives of various Setas, employers and labour unions.

“The question here is no longer whether the industry will become competitive, but how we are going to grow it even further. The industry will never be competitive unless the experts are driving it,” said an optimistic Mkhize.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.