Allan Gray Makers is taking measures to alleviate unemployment and poverty in South Africa in the midst of a challenging economic climate characterised by inflation, high interest rates, load shedding, and the water crises.
In recognition of the potential of the artisanal trade, the organisation has launched the Artisans of Mzansi Campaign, aimed at increasing the value of skilled artisans and creating meaningful employment opportunities.
The campaign, which started on September 3, 2022, is now in its second year. Artisans are invited to participate before 30th June 2023.
The campaign aims to celebrate technical entrepreneurs so that they can serve as relatable role models for aspiring technical entrepreneurs and change the negative perception of the trades.
It also aims to shine a spotlight on them and their businesses and to build a powerful network of skilled artisans who can significantly contribute to the country's economic growth and job creation by focusing on ethical leadership values and behaviours.
Dr Blade Nzimande, Minister of Higher Education, Science, and Innovation, announced in November 2022 that the country needs at least 60% of school drop-outs to pursue trade training in order to meet the demand for scarce skills.
The most recent data from Stats SA show that 10.2 million people in South Africa between the ages of 15 and 24 are unemployed. Even more troubling is that approximately 3.5 million young people in this age range do not have access to education or training opportunities.
These figures show that there is an urgent need for programs that give young people more power and equip them with the skills and resources they need to succeed in the job market.
Sihle Mofokeng, programme manager of the Makers Movement and Marketing at Allan Gray Makers, explained that to break the cycle and enable a maintainable transformation in the country, a focus needs to be placed on the artisanal industry and opportunities presented.
“Allan Gray Makers is an organisation that aims to nurture and grow responsible technical and vocational entrepreneurs in South Africa, thereby accelerating meaningful employment creation,” Mofokeng said.
“The organisation aims to grow responsible businesses that generate sustainable profits and creation of value for society, ” he said.
The campaign features a competition format that promotes artisanal business owners from a variety of specialities to participate. These specialities include plumbing, construction, carpentry, electrical work, renovations, general repairs, and related fields.
At the end of the campaign, participants in the competition have a chance to win exciting prizes, which further encourages participation and promotes excellence within the artisanal community. The winners will walk away with their share of R400 000 in addition to the one-year mentoring and coaching.
The minimum requirements are to be a South African citizen, an entrepreneur, run an artisanal or trades business, run a formalised and ethically run business and require people not older than 50 years of age.