The demand for skilled and semi-skilled artisans in the country is large, and it continues to grow. Artisans play an active role in the producing of goods and services, and in increasing the country's economy.

How artisan skills upscale job creation

Artisanal work has become an essential tool towards job creation. It has shifted from being perceived as a lower skill to being an in demand skill. An artisan is a skilled worker in a particular craft, such as leather bag making. They use specialised processes, tools, and machinery to manufacture products. They can work as jewellers, boilermakers and welders, to name a few.

Leather Zulu, a manufacturing artisan business, manufactures products such as handbags, purses, wallets and luggage bags; to name a few. Businesses such as Leather Zulu play a vital role in the growth of skills development and job creation. Properties such as Artisan Lofts in Maboneng, Johannesburg; are a remarkable example of inspired artisanal design, infused into urban development.

Sean Jones, managing director of the Artisan Training Institute (ATI), says development of quality artisan qualifications can substantially alleviate the youth unemployment in South Africa: “This is very much in line with a trend that we have noticed in industry; which is that quality artisanal qualifications provide fast access to the job market, better remuneration and promising future career prospects.”

The ATI finds 95% of students who graduate from Sol-Tech Vocational Training College, are successfully employed – a fifth of which are self-employed.

The lack of skills in artisan

According to statistics, South Africa has a shortfall of about 40 000 qualified artisans; measured against the annual production rate of 13 000 qualified artisans. Former Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Mduduzi Manana, revealed that the government is forced to import 1,000 artisans from Thailand due to a shortage of skilled workers locally.

If you’re thinking of becoming a qualified artisan, the Department of Labour releases and regularly updates a National Scarce Skills list.

“Scarce skills are those job types for which employers cannot find suitably qualified or experienced employees,” the Department of Labour notes.

For growth in the artisan industry, it is essential that artisans with skills and experience must fill positions to innovate and create sustainable infrastructure. For more information on becoming an artisan click here.