The Northwest School of Design (NWSD) in Klerksdorp has become the first South African facility to offer a Licentiateship in Fashion, the highest international fashion qualification in South Africa. In Europe, this qualification is considered to be between an honours and a master's degree.
Gert-Johan Coetzee and Prudence Kau
Its students will have access to practical, vocational training that equips them with entrepreneurial skills and a qualification that is welcomed anywhere in the world.
"The problem with many university and college qualifications is that graduates leave with limited or no practical experience, which makes them harder to employ and they are usually also unable to make a living as an entrepreneur. I am a massive fan of vocational training," says designer Gert-Johan Coetzee, who employs one of the first participants in the licentiateship programme, Prudence Kau.
A former beneficiary of Coetzee's bursary programme at NWSD, 23-year-old Kau finished her third year in 2015 and is now receiving on-the-job training in the designer's Johannesburg studio. She is excited about the year ahead. "I started interning at Gert-Johan's studio just a week ago and am already learning so much. In addition, the best part is that everything I learn this year will form part of the evidence I gather for my assessment in the licentiateship programme. Everything is practical and relevant."
According to NWSD principal Marlene Oosthuizen, all of Kau's fellow 2015 alumni and the whole class of 2014 have enrolled for the Licentiateship. "They are all in first jobs, or have even started their own businesses and want the further polish this programme offers, to set them up in their careers."
The one-year Licentiateship programme follows three years of full-time study in either fashion design or fashion communication and buying. Registration for first-year studies close on 11 February 2106. Applications for Gert-Johan Coetzee's bursary for 2017 will open later in the year. For more information, go to www.nwsd.co.za.
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