Turn your passion into a career

Negative perception about arts and crafts dispelled

11 February 2020 | Education

Koesha Martin; COSDEF; “People are not really exposed to these courses…”


The 2020 academic year at the COSDEF Arts and Crafts Centre officially commenced while the registration process is on-going.

The trainees’ induction and placement in all courses started on Monday (10 February) and conclude on Friday, with training delivery scheduled to start next week.

Jewellery Design and Manufacturing (level 2 and 3), Visual Art, Craft and Design (level 2), Fashion Design and Accessories (level 2), Leather Craft and Design (level 2), Graphic Design (level 2) and Sound Technician (level 2) are the courses offered at the institution.

According to COSDEF’s Business Development and Marketing Manager, Koesha Martin, people are not really exposed to arts and craft courses.

“And even if they are, some still have this perception that you cannot make a living and sustain yourself by doing arts and crafts courses.”

Martin emphasised that people can make a living out of arts and crafts despite negative perceptions.

“However, doing so takes a lot of hard work and a long-term strategy. At the end of the day, if you want to make a living as an artist or crafter, you need to remember that you are also a business person.”

In order to augment the practical skills with business skills, the centre also offers entrepreneurship courses. “Our trainees are equipped with the necessary skills to start and run a successful business,” she said.

She added that not all youngsters are able to excel academically and called on parents not to force their kids to do so.

“Not all learners are academically inclined and as a parent, if you notice that your child struggles or does not perform satisfactorily, it’s time that you consider alternatives such as enrolling your child at an institution where they can develop practical skills. As parents, we need to nurture the talents of our children, whether it is arts, music, or anything else."

Martin says skills development is essential to face the challenges of everyday life.

“During the past few decades there has been a dramatic change in the world due to the unprecedented use of technology. These transformations impact all spheres of our life, including education, the economy and careers,” she said.

She disagrees with the general perception that people who study at academic tertiary institutions are more successful and important than those who study at arts and crafts institutions.

“You can be equally successful and important with an arts and crafts qualification.

“At the COSDEF Arts and Crafts Centre your passion for arts and crafts can be turned into a career. You can end up doing something you love, because passion for what one does is crucial for a successful career and a happy life.”

Laurentia Ruts (42), a domestic worker at a local mining company, enrolled for the Jewellery Design and Manufacturing level 2 and 3 course at the institution. She did so after her bosses encouraged her to take up a course.

She has high hopes and said that age should not be a factor when pursuing to study a course in the arts and crafts.

“I feel like I have the potential to do arts and crafts. I think it’s possible because age has nothing to with what it takes,” Ruts said.

Ruts is a single mother of four children aged between 4 and 22. According to her, the knowledge that she will gain from studying at COSDEF will eventually help her to establish her own company.

This will also help take care of her family, since she wants to start her own workshop and sell the jewellery she produces.

“I will persist with my workshop and try and make a living out of it.”

She already makes jewellery from beads and precious stones and has sold some of these.

Having dropped out of school, Ruts encourages young people - especially those who are not academically inclined - to use their talents to carve out a career for themselves.

“I did not complete my grade 12. I dropped out of school in grade 10 and started doing domestic work. But I now realised that if you have a talent, you have to use it and be creative in order to make a living out of it.”

She advised those who did not complete their schooling or never had the opportunity to go to school, to use their talent.

“Discover what you can do with your hands. Rather do something instead of just sitting at home, doing nothing. Develop yourself by taking courses at COSDEF Arts and Crafts.”

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