Unemployed given the skills to build a career

Written by Owen Mngadi

Mogammad Jacobs from Mitchells Plain in the Western Cape is the owner of Inline Kitchen, an interior design and joinery business. Mogammad Jacobs managed to grow his business thanks to SEDA.

He received training from the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) artisan development programme that was giving unemployed youth woodworking skills they needed to start their own businesses.

He says that post-training, he managed to formalise the business that he inherited from his father in 2016, through the design of a corporate identity, promotional material and continuous business development support that he received from SEDA.

“I have been servicing my area only, but now I serve a wider range of customers. I get customers from corporates and subcontract work in big construction projects because of how my business has been formalised. I have managed to employ two more people,” he says.

Jacobs’ plan is to grow the business and create job opportunities for other people in Mitchells Plain and surrounding areas.

SEDA, an agency of the Department of Small Business Development, initiated the programme in 2020. The agency’s Western Cape Provincial Manager, Alex Qunta, says they recruited 20 young people from different townships.

Apart from theoretical and practical woodworking skills, the beneficiaries were taught to make furniture and about safety in the workplace. The eight-week training was provided by the Nyanga East campus of Furntech, a Seda incubator that is accredited by the Fibre Processing and Manufacturing Sector Education and Training Authority.

“Artisans are the core of any building structure, be it a home, an office or an industrial [space]. With the high unemployment rate, we identified artisans as a solution, and there is a great business opportunity for them. There are many developments by the government and private sector that need artisans,” Qunta says.

To increase the training of artisans to meet demand and create jobs, the National Development Plan 2030 proposed expanding the role of state-owned enterprises in training artisans and technical professionals. The target is to produce
30 000 qualified artisans per year.

For more information, contact the SEDA on 0860 663 7867 (toll-free) or visit www.seda.org.za