Around the world, people are feeling the weight of the COVID-19 pandemic. Seeking escape, wanting to earn a little cash through a side hustle, or pursuing a nostalgic longing for simpler times, many are turning to creativity and the arts.
Maryne Steenekamp, Head of Stadio School of Fashion says short courses are a great option for those wanting to turn a hobby into a business, find a creative release, or return to a dream deferred.
“I think many people have realised that life is short and are re-evaluating their priorities,” she says. “A short course is a great way to either refresh your existing skills, up-skill yourself in an area you’re interested in, or dip your toes into a specific field to explore whether you’re ready for a career change. Short courses require less of an investment in terms of time, money, and effort, making them more manageable for a lot of people.”
One of Stadio School of Fashion’s short course alumni who acted on her passion for beauty is the successful local beauty influencer and make-up artist, Mihlali Ndamase. After completing a make-up short course, she launched her Beauty and The Beat Masterclasses which have become hugely popular. Her approach to sharing her make-up tips and techniques helped her become a multi-award winner content creator and one of South Africa’s top YouTubers.
Short courses offer numerous benefits. They are a way to supplement existing skills with particular elements and they provide a valuable opportunity to network with other students and like-minded people. They are also available in different and flexible formats, from face-to-face offerings to online courses and hybrid models that combine elements of both.
“Obviously, some courses are difficult to do online, particularly within creative and design fields,” says Steenekamp. “For example, we offer pattern design and leathercraft short courses, which need to happen in person for a variety of reasons – space, equipment, and the fact that these are tangible and tactile disciplines. It would be almost impossible for students to gain the same understanding digitally as they can during a live demonstration in class. Instructors are also able to check their physical work more effectively and make corrections where necessary. In our make-up course, for example, it would be difficult to give a fair assessment when web cameras, filters and internet connection quality can affect the visual results of any given exercise.”
Other courses are ideal for self-study, meaning students can move at their own pace, accessing material as and when they can. “For example, our textiles, trend analysis and visual merchandising courses are all online self-study options,” says Steenekamp. “These are well suited to busy people, for example those who are working full-time, or parents who want to squeeze in some ‘me time’ in between their family responsibilities.”
The Stadio School of Fashion offers contact learning short courses in garment construction, pattern design, creative design, make-up and leather craft. Hybrid learning courses (assisted online offerings) include styling, fashion entrepreneurship, sustainable fashion design, and Adobe Illustrator for fashion. Self-study online courses include textiles, trend analysis and visual merchandising.
The school’s Fashion Entrepreneurship course is ideal for those who want to launch their own brand or a freelance fashion business. This course is available online and via the school’s assisted online offering.
“I believe that studying something creative is especially valuable in this time we find ourselves in now,” says Steenekamp. “Between COVID-19 and digital transformation, with the advent of AI and machine learning, human creativity has come to the fore. The world is experiencing a shake-up, but we still find our solace, our meaning in creative expression.”