11 Tips to Start Artisan/Skill Acquisition Training Centre

Artisan/Skill Acquisition Training Centre :The Artisan Training Institute aims to empower young people with relevant skills to help redress poverty and youth unemployment.

This contribution makes a significant difference while supporting industry and our country.

Through organic relationships that have been built by working with artisans to bring their products to the Western market over the past four years.

We have received a unique insight into the workings of smaller cooperatives.

Working with groups from Bosnia to Bangladesh, we’ve been privy to get a behind the scenes look at how they: manage their finances, structure leadership, as well as their process for product development and design.

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Artisan/Skill Acquisition Training Centre

What have we found? Their enthusiasm is invigorating.

Their talent and skills is a craft to be celebrated. Their desire to work and provide for their family? Tangible and inspiring.

However, without the skills or business training, they often lack the structure and/or product design to gain the attention of the mainstream fair trade movement and their local markets are limited. While progressing, their efforts often do not help the women break the generational cycle of poverty.

Artisan Training Institute (ATI) is a privately own training centre, established in 1982 and privatised in 1998.

The quality and scale of operations changed substantially during this period, which prompted the need to rebrand as the Artisan Training Institute (ATI) in October 2012.

ATI is a category A Level 2 Contributor to B-BBEE with the following shareholding and executive directors:

Mrs Mandisa Nyathikazi (Executive Director) with 66% ownership and Mrs Mr Sean Jones (Chief Executive Officer) with 34% ownership.

Since 2008 the company has grown from 17 to 80 staff in 2015. ATI currently operates from Roodepoort and Port Shepstone (in association with InterCement Trading).

Artisan/Skill Acquisition Training Centre

Artisan/Skill Acquisition Training Centre

1. Get Track Record

ATI is the technical skills training provider in the Gauteng – Regional Centre of Expertise (GRCE), officially acknowledged by the United Nations University.

ATI has partnered with the MasterCard Foundation to assist staff at the TVET’s to further technical skill development for their ETDP’s.

2. Services Offer

ATI is making a substantial difference in the technical training environment as it drives quality training throughout its operations.

They are ISO9001 certified through an international certification body based in the UK.

They are accredited as a Skills Development Provider and Decentralised Trade Test Centre with the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) in the following disciplines:

• Petrol-, Diesel-, Tractor-, Earth Moving-, Forklift Mechanics, Auto Electrical
• Fitting & Turning, Tool Jig & Die Making
• Electrical
• Millwright
• Boilermaking, Sheet Metal Working, Welding
• Rigging
• Measurement Control & Instrumentation.

Artisan/Skill Acquisition Training Centre

3. Assessment Services

ATI can assist in positively managing resources by performing pre-evaluation assessments of learners with regards to aptitude and trainability in the requisite trades.

4. Trade Testing

They  recommend that Learners, who have not been trained at ATI, undergo a Trade Test Readiness Assessment, in order to identify any gaps which can be remedied through the Revision phase.

5. Artisan Refresher Courses

ATI offers refresher courses for qualified artisans.

Artisan/Skill Acquisition Training Centre

6. Skills Programmes

ATI offers tailormade accredited short skills programmes.

7. Management of Company Owned Training Centers.

ATI has developed specialist management skills within the technical training environment.

As a level 2 contributor in terms of  legislation, coupled with its sound track record, ATI is well-positioned to manage company owned training centers.

The management model established by ATI ensures company owned training centers are effectively staffed, accredited, well managed, and enjoys sustainability through tough economic times.

8. Corporate Social Investment Programmes

Since 2008 ATI has successfully managed Artisan Development Programmes on behalf of Blue Chip companies, wishing to maximise their Social Economical Development spend.

Others are:

The following are common careers in which a Artisan runs his own business:

Dental technician

Culinary Artisan

Dental surgeon




Artisan/Skill Acquisition Training Centre

Custom clothing

Appliance or computer repair technician



Watch seller and repairperson



Artisan/Skill Acquisition Training Centre



Wall painter


Construction worker



Artisan/Skill Acquisition Training Centre


Auto mechanic


Furnace and HVAC technician



Registered massage therapist



Hair dressing

See also: Top 100 Profitable Engineering  Business to Start in Nigeria


With this in mind, they developed a curriculum that strives to tackle the issues surrounding poverty.

By providing a holistic approach by focusing on life and business skills.

As well as training on leadership, education, and making healthy choices.

This training works with every individuals over the course of four months, empowering them

to form a cooperative and learn how to create and design demand-driven products to be sold in local and international markets.

To create lasting, sustainable change, theybelieve in going beyond fair trade.

Which means providing a holistic support package that enables vulnerable women to start.

Or expand a cooperative, as a means to generate income for themselves and their family, alongside learning other valuable life skills.

Artisan/Skill Acquisition Training Centre

Many of the communities worked  with are vulnerable and the people have little or no background in artisan work.

As well as skilled craftsmen seeking to take their skills and business to the next level by learning valuable lessons, forming a cooperative, and gaining access to international markets.

Over the course of the 4-month program, select artisan groups will have  access to Artisans Thrive Training Program designed to establish a member-led cooperative to generate income.

And serve as a place for learning and support.

Artisan/Skill Acquisition Training Centre

Additionally, they focus on developing a team of member-nominated leaders throughout the program who take the lead in the continuation and direction of the cooperative.

Working collectively, the cooperative designs and launches a fashion-forward, unique product.

It’s important the artisans themselves drive the creation of the product, given local resources and skills, while also learning how to gauge the market for the product.

The training not only teaches the people the skills to make the product.

But also provides them with training in entrepreneurship and business management.

Including quality control, budgeting, savings, marketing and customer service.

Working with a team of leaders, the people will be empowered to run a business together and apply their new skills to their individual businesses.

Related: 6 Tips Electrical Artisan Business in Nigeria


Following the program, they work closely with the artisan group and partner organization.

Focusing on the sustainability of the cooperative.

Providing a market in which they can sell their products.

And help them to establish other retail and wholesale outlets.

Over the course of the nine months following the program.

They continue to work with the leadership team and partner organization.

Assisting the people in creation of new products and monitoring any challenges or issues that arise.

Artisan/Skill Acquisition Training Centre

The people are paid upfront for products made, providing immediate income.

This is often a 200-300% increase in their normal daily wage!

The people report using the additional income to pay for food, healthcare, children’s school fees, and other necessities.

Additionally, with each product sold, a percentage of the sales price is set aside to pay back the training costs (depends on the partner).

This is mechanism creates a way to sustain the program and train other organizations moving forward.

Long-term, they  encourage the people to use their cooperative for other purposes.

Including savings and lending among themselves from the profits of the cooperative.

Read also: 13 Fact about Artisan Training Business in Nigeria

11.  Get Groups:

The first Artisans Thrive Training Program took place in a remote western area of Guatemala near Coatepeque.

After doing on ground investigation and assessments over the course of several months.

It was determined that a skills training program would benefit many people in the community whose only means of work was often small farming and selling opportunities.

Or working within the plantations that surround the area.

Artisan/Skill Acquisition Training Centre

Mobilizing people to begin the program and finding instructor and local interpreter.

People will continued to work together to develop new products.

Gain traction as they sell to additional places in the community.

And find a new sense of peace in their life.

Artisan/Skill Acquisition Training Centre

As a cooperative, leadership in relation to sustainability has been a large focus.

Each person  plays a vital role in the sustainability, continuation, and daily functioning of the business.

Working with people in the cooperative, forming a leadership team is critical to the sustainability and continuation of the cooperative.

They are finding that it’s important to continue learning new skills.

Offering new products to their customers.

And learn the various aspects of a business to be able to plan for the future and grow.


An impressive 90% of these donor-funded learners have obtained employment by the end of the progrmme.

Therefore, believe that this program has the potential to substantially improve the learners’ chances of securing jobs in the world.

According to Jones, the contribution each artisan makes to the fiscus during their career is approximately R4-million.

We are convinced that one of the key reasons for this high placement ratio, is the fact that ATI takes an uncompromising approach to excellence.

With the aim to not only produce artisans to meet industry’s demand for technical skills.

But to also produce artisans that are trained to the highest standards.

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