The Department of Trade and Industry has forged a solid working relationship with the Footwear Design Development Institute (FDDI) of the Indian Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Textiles. The FDDI has seconded a team of six professional experts to the National Footwear Leather Cluster (NFLC) which was established by The Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) at Vaal University of Technology (VUT). The FDDI trains approximately 1 500 professionals annually for the Indian footwear industry.
The FDDI team of experts will train South Africans in footwear design and manufacturing skills, curriculum development for courses, research programmes and procurement amongst others, as well as train South African lecturers and students.
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies says the initiative is excellent and shows government commitment to develop the cluster.
“I commend Professor Irene Moutlana, The Vice-Chancellor and Principal of VUT, who has signed a R3.6 million (US$ 34 3000) Memorandum of Agreement on behalf of the National Footwear and Leather Cluster with the Indian Footwear Design Development Institute. I wish to also express my appreciation to the Indian Ministry of Commerce. This project will execute the rapid transfer of skills and knowledge to Further Education and Training Colleges (FET’s) in South Africa, in particular the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) and the national and sub-national footwear clusters. The programme will support the development of a standardised curriculum compliant with the standards of the South African Qualification Authority (SAQA),” says Davies.
Areas of collaboration will include all-round training inclusive of footwear design, footwear technology, footwear retail courses and short skills programmes such as footwear pattern making.
Minister Davies added that government has prioritised the cluster as it has the potential to create jobs.
“As part of its efforts to support the clothing, textile and leather sector, the dti approved a grant of R69.2 million for the establishment of National Footwear and Leather Cluster through the Competitiveness Improvement Programme (CIP). The work of the cluster is directly responsible for the creation of approximately 2 000 sustainable jobs and the reduction in the trade deficit of R1.4 billion through import substitution by local retailers,” said Davies.
Public procurement of transversal contracts for footwear by the state has risen from R99.4 million in 2014/15 to R272.2 million in 2015/16. The designation of this sector for local procurement has meant that public procurement has significantly supported local manufacturers.
South African manufacturers operate in a highly competitive global environment where high levels of productivity, competitiveness, skills and innovation are essential requirements for industry. Governments in other jurisdictions play a significant part in supporting the private sector to achieve these objectives through the deployment of a wide variety of interventions. This is an excellent example of such an intervention and it is also testimony to the strong and growing relationship between South Africa and India, including with respect to economic cooperation.
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SOURCE: South African Official News