Watch: Old irons sharpen young irons at Craft Festival


Hardworking, diligent and innovative are all characteristics of a tradesperson who does not shy away from hard work, but rather rolls up his or her sleeves and takes on challenges with both hands.

This is the message that was preached on Friday during Solidarity Artisan Festival and Sol-Tech’s second Artisan Festival on Sol-Tech’s campus.

Masters, or “old irons”, in the tradesmen came to share their knowledge and experience with the prospective tradesmen, or “young irons”.

Dr. Dirk Hermann, managing director of Solidarity, says the trade network helps “young ironmen” study and prepares them for the labor market.

“The Trade Network enables the ‘young irons’ to find work and build new networks in their professional network. Help is offered for further training and masters are recognized. We are a powerful network.”

According to Stef Pretorius, coordinator of Solidarity’s trade and IT networks, a bright future awaits trades in South Africa, because Solidarity Trade Network has taken responsibility. “It is important that our students, when they are masters of their profession one day, approach plowing back. This will ensure that craftsmen, experience and skill are preserved.”

Pretorius also emphasizes that the decline of the state increases the need for well-trained tradesmen. Employers are now queuing up to employ Sol-Tech students, because there is a shortage of trained tradesmen due to the decay of the former technical training colleges. In addition, Sol-Tech provides world-class training.

Sol-Tech’s facilities originally arose out of Solidarity’s head office, with a few lathes to train students with. “The growth of trades in Solidarity is incredibly large and therefore we see a chance for the future. This is just the beginning – see where we are going,” adds Pretorius.