North West School of Design now offers the highest International Fashion Qualification in South Africa

Calling all aspirant fashion designers! Gert-Johan Coetzee’s alma mater, the Northwest School of Design, has just become the first South African facility to offer a Licentiateship in Fashion, the highest international fashion qualification in South Africa.

Gert-Johan Coetzee and Licentiateship student Prudence Kau

This means that students at the Klerksdorp college has access to the kind of practical, vocational training that equips young people with entrepreneurial skills and a qualification from the prestigious City & Guilds of London, that is welcomed anywhere in the world.

“The problem with many university and college qualifications are that graduates leave with limited or no practical experience, which makes them harder to employ, and usually also unable to make a living as an entrepreneur. I am a massive fan of vocational training,” says Coetzee, who employs one of the first participants in the licentiateship programme, Prudence Kau.

A former beneficiary of Coetzee’s bursary programme at NWSD, 20-year-old Kau finished her third year in 2015 and is now receiving on-the-job training in the top designer’s Johannesburg studio. She is very excited about the year ahead. “I started interning at Gert-Johan’s studio just a week ago, and am already learning so much. And the best part is that everything I learn this year will form part of the evidence I gather for my assessment in the licentiateship programme. Everything is practical and relevant.”

According to NWSD principal Marlene Oosthuizen, all of Prudence’s fellow 2015 alumni, as well as the whole class of 2014 have enrolled for the Licentiateship. “They are all in first jobs, or have even started their own businesses, and want the further polish this programme offers to set them up in their careers,” she says.

The fourth-year Licentiateship programme follows after three years of full-time study in either fashion design or fashion communication and buying. Registration for first-year studies close on 11 February.

For more information call NWSD on 018 462 5149 or go to


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