Learnership helps 20 reap what they sew

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IOL  Ridge Domingo done Independent Newspapers Machinist Ridge Domingo of Valhalla Park. Picture: Henk Kruger

Cape Town -

Like most boys, Ridge Domingo, 18, never considered sewing as a job choice. But not only has the talented machinist landed a learnership at a clothing manufacturing factory, he now dreams of training other teens in sewing.

In May, the Cape Argus reported on how Domingo, 18, from Valhalla Park was causing a stir with his skills after just a few months of training and was already receiving job offers.

Last week, Domingo started a learnership at Gerli Clothing in Maitland and said since May he had also received orders for clothing.

“I’m very excited, but was also nervous about this learnership. You feel the pressure because you can’t work as fast as the other, more experienced machinists, but you learn a lot.”

Domingo, who was repeating Grade 9 in 2012, has been participating in the Western Cape Education Department’s Youth Focus Project, which provides pupils who are over-age or have repeated Grade 9 several times with the opportunity to gain a technical qualification.

Among its partners in the project is service provider Clotex, and pupils can follow a course culminating in a national certificate in clothing manufacturing.

Clotex executive director Stefan Segal said Ridge and 19 other pupils, who had participated in the course, were all completing their six-month learnerships at Gerli Clothing.

Segal said that after the Cape Argus published the story about Domingo in May, three sewing machines were donated and the plan was to start a co-operative with the 19 students once they had completed their learnerships.

Domingo, who previously admitted he would probably have become a gangster had he not joined the project, said the project had taught him about teamwork.

Gerli Clothing owner Gerald Chetty said that when he first met the group of 20 students last year he would not have employed them.

“A year later things have changed for the positive.”

Cape Argus

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