The textile industry in Kwazulu-Natal has been given a shot in the arm, thanks to a training cooperation agreement between the provincial government and Czech Republic's Liberec Technical University.
The university is to help the textile industry in the province in a bid to make it sustainable and competitive.
They plan to do this by increasing the pool of trained specialists in both the teaching and manufacturing sectors of the industry.
MEC for finance and economic affairs Zweli Mkhize yesterday said he had already accepted a proposal from Jiri Militky, dean of the faculty of textile engineering at the university, about the proposed training.
The textile industry in KZN is the second largest after Western Cape, employing nearly 50000 people. It is regarded as a key industry in the province's industrial development strategy.
"We believe the textile industry is positioned to contribute quickly and cost-effectively to our development goals of poverty alleviation, empowerment, job creation and skills development.
"So it is important to support the industry by forging partnerships such as this to ensure that our industry becomes a competitive player in the world economy," Mkhize said.
He said funding for selected students to study towards a master's degree will be provided by his department. Funding for shorter courses in textile design and manufacturing will be sourced from various stakeholders, including foreign donors and the industry itself.