Firm develops skilled workers

This is why the firm recently sent Usakos-born 34-year-old Hans Pieter Somaeb, to the Sewing Industry Technical Training Centre (SITTC) in Cape Town to hone his technical skills.

Somaeb started with the firm in 2001 in the equipment maintenance department as an assistant.

Diligence coupled with technical savvy, willingness to learn and to demonstrate application of the knowledge gained, resulted in his steady rise.

He is now responsible for factory maintenance at Dantago Clothing.

Dantago Clothing’s chief executive, Colin Williams, says the firm has secured an order from South African retail giant, Pick ‘n Pay, to produce 70 000 children’s garments every month.

The contract runs through to November and the prestigious client has indicated that follow-up orders are in the offering, but first this deal must be concluded satisfactorily and on time.

Manufactured on a cut-make-and-trim (CMT) basis, Pick ‘n Pay’s order will see Dantago Clothing operating at optimal capacity for the remainder of the year.

This means that machine-down time due to technical faults must be avoided, says Williams.

The firm is currently also processing a similar sized order for the Woolworths group, another major South African retail chain.

CMT is where the client supplies fabric and patterns but the manufacturer actually produces the garment, supplying labour, trimmings like cotton and buttons, and packaging.

Danny Meyer of SMEs Compete, a consultancy firm that works with the Ministry of Trade and Industry and other institutions like NCCI and JCC, to help small firms grow business and create employment, was invited to Arandis to present Hans Pieter Somaeb with a certificate issued by the Cape-based SITTC.

The certificate recognises Somaeb’s successful completion of the ‘three-needle coverseam machine’ module of a ‘textile machinery ‘ setting, adjusting and fault finding’ course.

Training will continue as Somaeb is due to return to Cape Town in July for the ‘bartack machine’ module followed by him doing the ‘button-hole machine’ training module in August.

Asked by SMEs Compete’s Danny Meyer about his stay in South Africa, an elated Hans Pieter Somaeb said, “For the first time in my life I have been recognised and given a chance to get formal training and a certificate to prove that I can do the job”.

He told Meyer that he liked the visits to garment producers, a highlight of his stay in the Cape as it provided him with an opportunity, “To observe how others do it”.

However, it was the levels of productivity on the shop-floor that impressed him most.

Dantago Clothing’s chief executive confirmed that his firm met the full cost of Somaeb’s training.

“This amounted to more than N$10 000.00 if one includes the accommodation and transport”, says Williams, adding that the small firm would have liked to “claw-back” some of the cost from a government skills development fund.

“It is so important to keep our factory running and machine down-time as low as possible if we are to compete in the CMT sector but I cannot wait for skills development support to be forthcoming” says Williams.

So he just pressed ahead and now the firm has an even more skilled and motivate employee in Hans Pieter Somaeb.

Anyway this seems to be how Colin and Belinda Williams go about their business, they are a ‘can-do’ team who just move ahead rather than waiting for others to make things happen.

June 2006
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