The top five achievers: From left to right: Martin John Steenkamp (top clothing graduate, Mozimax Textiles), S’duduzo Su-Ellen Shezi (Powerhouse Clothing), Lutfiyya Abdool Gafoor (top footwear graduate, Eddels Shoes), Nazmeera Pillay (Celrose Clothing) and Sanisha Tikaram (Celrose Clothing).
The spotlight shone on twenty-one talented young graduates at the third annual MRP Foundation Pre-Production Graduation on November 24 at the Breakers Resort in Umhlanga, as they ushered in the next exciting chapter of their careers.
It was a milestone moment as Mr Price Group executives, partners, strategic suppliers and families toasted the graduates' completion of an intensive ten month practical and theoretical course that covered everything from pattern-making, designing, costing, merchandising to planning for production.
In an effort to bridge the gap between tertiary education and the manufacturing industry, as well as create a more employable graduate, the offered youth the opportunity to gain hands on experience and critical skills in the local manufacturing sector. The course, co-created and funded by MRP Foundation, strategic suppliers and Mr Price Group, provided valuable internships at six footwear, clothing and home and textile firms in KwaZulu-Natal and one in Cape Town.
The class of 2016 was applauded for their enthusiasm, passion and dedication to the challenging course. With South Africa’s youth unemployment rate one of the highest in the world, it was also inspiring to celebrate the 86% employment rate for the class of 2016.
The top five Pre-Production Manufacturing graduates who all proudly walked away with a job in hand were: S’duduzo Su-Ellen Shezi (Powerhouse Clothing), Sanisha Tikaram (Celrose Clothing), Nazmeera Pillay (Celrose Clothing), Martin John Steenkamp (top clothing graduate, Mozimax Textiles), Lutfiyya Abdool Gafoor (top footwear graduate, Eddels Shoes).
For top textile achiever, Martin John Steenkamp, this past year has broadened his career horizons to the point where he now sees a future career in his firm and in the local manufacturing industry. The talented creative shared his courageous life story of how he saved for his tertiary education at the Pietermaritzburg School of Fashion by working in a supermarket for five years, after which he joined the Pre-Production programme to continue sharpening his skills.
“This programme has been such an amazing opportunity because you come right out of school and go into an environment where they teach you all these amazing skills in the areas of shoes to home textiles. All of us (graduates) have acquired so much knowledge and so many skills. We are all now employable and we can add value. No matter where you came from, the colour of your skin, your dreams are valid.”
Karen Wells, MRP Foundation Manager, congratulated the graduates’ accomplishments as well as highlighting the greater role the programme plays in breaking the cycle of poverty and inequality and building into the local manufacturing industry.
“The heart of the MRP Foundation is unlocking the talent and potential of tomorrow, which we do through programmes in education and skills development. This manufacturing skills development programme also shows how through the collaboration and partnership of suppliers, retailers and the MRP Foundation, we can do more, and together we are making a difference in the local manufacturing sector.”
Well done to the class of 2016, we wish you all the best with your careers!
Watch some highlights from the evening here.