By Foibe N Paavo
SWAKOPMUND, 18 May 2022 – A two-day workshop for arts and crafts centres in Swakopmund gives COSDEF a bright opportunity to showcase its potent talents.
COSDEF is a community skills development foundation and it’s the umbrella for all the centres of which they have nine across the country. They have eight skills centres, which are all doing courses like joinery, welding, office administration, hospitality, and arts and crafts among others.
The foundation offers an opportunity for low-income groups to excel in their talents, either the youth or people that struggle academically, although anyone is welcome.
Most of their courses are at level 2 but many of them go on to level 3. It’s not necessary for the students to have a matric certificate as anyone from 16 and above with Grade 10 can join. All the courses come with a basic tool kit equipped with items that students might need for the year.
“We’re trying to open that gap for students that weren’t really doing well academically and those who have dropped out at Grade 10 or still struggle academically, to give them a second chance to excel in their talents and earn a living from it,” said Jessica le Grange, COSDEF’s marketing coordinator.
Once the students have completed the level 2 and level 3 courses, they can then apply to join other educational institutions.
The arts and craft centres are currently holding a national open day, to give an opportunity to the public, parents, businessmen that want to do evening classes, the youth and youngsters from 16 and 17 who are still contemplating what to do after high school.
The majority of their courses are one-year long and all of them include entrepreneurship and business as basic training. Once the students are done with their studies, they should be able to use their skills to start their own businesses as they don’t necessarily have to depend on the job market to employ them.
Students learn to create products like jewellery, leather items, clothes and visual arts from scratch and then hold exhibitions at the end of every year for sales.
COSDEF also has incubation units in each centre where a student who is interested in starting their own business is put through an incubation sector. This is a unit that they would have to rent for a year. And during that year, the management will help mentor and further train them to excel in business and product marketing/self-employment. For academics, COSDEF is also a stepping stone to other institutions or academic platforms to further studies.
“People have this idea that the arts and crafts are just a hobby but it’s not. It can be a whole career. We offer courses here in jewellery design, fashion design, leathercraft, visual arts and graphic design which are really fantastic courses to do, “ Le Grange said.
“There is an opportunity for students to go further. And just because you’re doing visual arts or design, you think it’s just paintings or drawings, but there’s more to it. You can start your own signwriting, printing or a t-shirt printing company,” she added.
“There’s so much more involved than just the basics … it opens a whole field for you. If you study fashion design, you don’t necessarily have to become a designer or produce your own line, you can work in sales. It just gives you the platform to gain extra knowledge and skills,” Le Grange concluded. – Namibia Daily News