The Artist Proof Studio as a Model for Training and Developing Africa’s Future Engineers, Technicians and Artisans
Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Africa in general have high rates of youth unemployment and even underemployment. Many of our governments, administrations and private corporations are perplexed and often run out of options with regards to providing training and up-skilling opportunities to the youth in general. This paper looks at the Artist Proof Studio (APS), an inventive and entrepreneurial print-making company, based in Johannesburg, South Africa. The APS provides learning opportunities for future artists and those in allied fields, through workplace training and experiential learning. They also provide for private patron and corporate partnerships through a series of seminars which are run weekly to equip students and associates with the necessary skills and knowledge in areas including law, business and communications was envisaged to enhance and increase student understanding of future professional practice. Using the business model employed by the APS, the author proposes a similar business model for the development and training of future engineers, technicians and artisans that may be applied across the continent, considering the general conditions that may include under-employment, unemployment and poverty. The paper attempts to address critical issues such as funding for the training and up-skilling of such engineering personnel using the APS business model as a basis for innovation and entrepreneurship in the sector. Purposeful sampling was used to select a small group of individuals (students and administrators) that participated in the survey that highlights the workings of the APS business model. The survey entailed a brief questionnaire answered, telephonically and virtually. It is hoped that aspects of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the business operating model and the individuals affected may shed light on business processes and methods that could be applied elsewhere on the continent. The author has no affiliation to APS whether financially or otherwise, but does admire their pragmatic approach to developing young artists while promoting commercialization of art production on the continent, even under conditions of low economic growth and limited resources.
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