The programme, specifically designed to upskill workers in the textile manufacturing sector, equips participants with essential training and mentorship to meet the quality and productivity demands of South Africa’s burgeoning manufacturing industry, with elective specializations in sewing machine operation, pattern making, cutting and finishing.
Employees who successfully complete the programme receive nationally recognized qualifications in Clothing Manufacturing, equivalent to NQF Level 2, and opportunities for lateral progression in the field. This enables employees to “earn and learn” while upgrading their skillset and provides companies with a more dynamic and efficient workforce.
Fifteen Pres Les factory employees were selected to participate in the learnership programme, which consisted of weekly online theory lessons and on-location practical training under the instruction of TVET SA facilitator, Patricia Small, at the Pres Les factory in Atlantis, Cape Town.
The Pres Les group was determined to make a success of the programme and received a nomination as TVET “Stars of the Week” for their work ethic. The facilitator noted their “high commitment level” and described them as “... a diverse, strong, and determined set of women!” who "rose to meet [every challenge] excellently.”
One such person is Anelisa Dolo, a machinist at Pres Les. Anelisa enjoyed the theoretical modules, especially the ones that focused on quality procedures and practices:
“After this learnership, I am more interested in my work. I see the bigger picture. I respect Pres Les for giving me this opportunity to learn something new.”
Nolwazi Mgxekwa is another Pres Les learner who rose to the occasion. As a machinist, Nolwazi was familiar with the plain machine and overlocker, and now, after completing her modules, feels confident to work on any machine she is tasked to operate:
“This programme built my confidence. Whatever operation they give to me, I just want to do it!”
In addition to technical skills and theory modules relevant to the manufacturing process, the learnership programme covers fundamental communication skills (as it pertains to language, processes, knowledge and practices) and mathematical literacy (as it pertains to a range of computational skills) to bridge the gap between those with a Matric qualification and those without. Mechelle Vivian gained immense value from the Mathematical Literacy modules:
“This course changed my life. In 2004, I finished Matric and never went back. The Math modules were amazing. The Math I learnt here has given me the confidence to rewrite Matric. That is my next step.”
Mechelle was working as an ironer at Pres Les when she attended the learnership programme. After completing her modules, Mechelle can confidently operate four machines, her favourite of which is the pleating machine, and is now on track to becoming a line supervisor after gaining the confidence to lead her peers:
“I loved every moment [of the learnership programme]. I had a fear of talking. I was always looking down. Now I can look people straight in the eye – I can sing before people now!”
Elize Engelbrecht, a Pres Les employee of 5 years, was a supervisor who couldn’t sew. After completing the sewing modules, Elize has gained the confidence to identify mistakes, correct them and “get the best out of [her] subordinates.”
“When I started out, I thought I would never make it in this company. Now I know I can do anything I put my heart into and attempt to do. Teamwork is dream work!”
The TVET SA learnership programme has proved invaluable to Pres Les participants, who eagerly soaked up the knowledge and applied it to their work, positively impacting the quality and productivity output of the factory and improving team dynamics. We are extremely proud of our Pres Les employees for giving it their all.