The clothing and textile manufacturing sector in South Africa has faced many challenges over the years, more specifically around a decrease in employment opportunities. The sector typically employs mostly women, who are vital to socio-economic progress in the country. In order to compete locally and abroad, the sector needs to improve productivity and competitiveness; cue SCORE: an internationally proven International Labour Organisation (ILO) training and capacity building programme.
CBPEP aimed to introduce SCORE methodology within the clothing and textile sector. A pilot project was initiated to train clothing manufacturing workers on the SCORE processes, which helped to boost the productivity and agility for 15 selected firms. The project adapted to the COVID-19 crisis by finding innovative ways for trainers to keep in touch with firms that kept operating during lockdown.
SCORE’s innovative approach has helped the sector remain competitive by improving skills and production practices, rather than through reducing wages and compromising working conditions. Workers are protected and jobs are preserved. This people-centric approach helped the sector achieve its goals with a view to protecting existing jobs and encouraging the creation of new ones. The broader aim of the project was to institutionalise the use of the SCORE methodology within the clothing sector, and to promote its adoption in other sectors.
In the early 2000s, the clothing and textile manufacturing industry in South Africa employed an estimated 100,000 people. Today that number has dwindled to 54,000 jobs. Sustaining Competitive and Responsible Enterprises (SCORE) is an International Labour Organisation (ILO) global programme that aims to improve productivity, competitiveness and working conditions in small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
SCORE training combines practical classroom education with in-factory consulting. Drawing on international experiences in the manufacturing and service sectors, the programme helps SMEs participate in global supply chains.
This project deployed a train-the-trainer approach and relied on experienced trainers with exposure to clothing manufacturing improvement in other settings internationally. These trainers ran a pilot project at the same time as teaching local trainers, who are leaders in their field, to roll out the programme. The pilot took place in South Africa's three major clothing manufacturing regions of KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape and Gauteng.
The project adapted to the COVID-19 crisis, with evaluations from an international SCORE expert trainer on local trainers being conducted virtually.
Local trainers were developed by the international SCORE expert trainer on the following topics:
1. Workplace Cooperation - A foundation for business success
2. Quality - Managing continuous improvement
3. Productivity through cleaner production
4. Workforce management
5. Safety and health at work - a platform for productivity
Throughout its capacity-building journey CBPEP has learnt valuable lessons. Here are some of the learnings from implementing the SCORE programme in a South African context.
Capacity building is ongoing – it’s for the long-term:
SCORE’s train-the-trainer approach helped to embed institutional capacity and sustain the ongoing process of skills development.
Innovate, adapt and iterate:
The SCORE methodology has helped this sector to adapt to a challenging economic environment. It introduced new ways of engaging and innovative production practices that allowed enterprises to stay competitive, continue evolving and, most importantly, protect jobs.
Always add value… then the magic happens:
This project was an example of effective social compact in action. It recognised that empowering people is at the centre of the sector’s growth and continuously found ways to be inclusive and participatory.
A webinar was held to reflect on the lessons learned by trainers, employers and workers from the participating firms and the supporting institutions. It also explored the potential for rolling out SCORE to additional manufacturing sectors and industries.
The innovative and adaptive methods of SCORE can be applied to any sector to bring about long-lasting improvements in supplier practices. The hands-on consultancy will provide companies with robust processes to improve business.
Since March 2020 South Africa has been in lockdown. One of SCORE’s strengths lie in its emphasis on safe workplaces in an inclusive way, watch how this has helped the project adapt to the current global COVID-19 crisis.
A film capturing the launch of the SCORE programme’s as well as the partners involved, demonstrates the importance of government, employer, and employee, including unions, stakeholders in driving sustainable changes in industry.