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Closing the skills gap

Written by More Matshediso

A Hammanskraal entrepreneur is committed to transferring his skills as a potter to youngsters in his community so that they too can generate an income for themselves.

Mduduzi Matsane (33) believes that anybody who has skills that they can transfer to unemployed people in their communities, should do so in order to curb unemployment. Young ceramist Mduduzi Matsane is empowerings young people in his community.

He is the owner of Canosa Ceramic Factory that operates from the Babelegi Industrial Park in Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria, which is run by the North West Development Corporation.

The company manufactures ceramic tableware and sells it to local residents and businesses.

It all started in 2012 when Matsane decided to put his pottery skills to good use.

“My father is a potter. I used to watch him make African calabashes and one day he took me under his wing and showed me how pottery works. I was so interested in it that I later advanced my skills a little bit in order to manufacture modern ceramic products as well,” Matsane said.

About seven years ago, while he was volunteering at a local old age home, he was offered space to design his own African calabashes, like his father.

“At that time, the City of Tshwane saw my work and was interested in what I was doing. They arranged space for me to work at a training centre very close to my home and I worked from there until around 2015,” he said.

He also found time to train 30 youngsters from Hammanskraal.

Today, 10 of them work with Matsane at the factory he acquired at the end of 2015. He said the company has so far managed to create close to 25 direct and indirect jobs.

“If we could address challenges such as the skills gap in our societies, people would be empowered to start their own businesses and create jobs for other people,” he said.

The company buys raw material from nearby mines and the manufacturing process takes about seven days. Canosa’s products include mugs, cups, bowls, plates and other tableware.

The biggest challenge facing the business is not being able to access funding to buy equipment and to upgrade the factory, which would result in the creation of more jobs.