Lutfiyya Gafoor is stepping up her career in the footwear industry thanks to the Jump Start Pre-Production Programme.
Lutfiyya Gafoor is stepping up her career in the footwear industry thanks to the Jump Start Pre-Production Programme.

Lutfiyya Gafoor with some of her shoe creations that she designed and hand crafted personally using her knowledge, skills and experience gained through the Jump Start Pre-Production Programme. PICTURES: TIM LUBBE AND PIERRE TOSTEE / MRP FOUNDATION

 

“Jump Start has made me a positive person, with a positive attitude!” says twenty-four-year-old Lutfiyya Gafoor, the top footwear graduate of the 2016 MRP Foundation’s Jump Start Pre-Production Programme.

As a young Muslim female, Lutfiyya is chartering unexplored career territories in terms of her community. “My job does not relate to my religion. I am breaking the typical traditional career choices in terms of the professional path I have chosen for myself. I am hard-working, focused, and I have very high professional standards,” says Lutfiyya.

Lutfiyya is currently a Co-ordinator for excess raw materials at a footwear manufacturer in Pietermaritzburg. Her job entails converting redundant raw materials into saleable products at a profit. She previously worked as a trainee Merchandiser/Designer. She is a career-focused individual, driven by pure passion and love for her job. Her self-confidence and the ability to focus on her goals are possibly the qualities that won her a career development trip to London in September 2017, as an incentive for being top of her class.

“I loved how fashion-forward London is. Seeing the different display ideas and the way in which retail companies capture their markets with innovative ideas, whilst keeping up with the latest in technology made me realise how differently South Africa operates compared to other countries,” says Lutfiyya.

“I felt inspired to create and motivate others on my return to South Africa. I can share the knowledge that I gained with my design team,” she adds.

Apart from learning how to take great photos so that designers can inspect styles and draw inspiration from those styles, Lutfiyya also learnt about toe shapes, soles, the latest materials and trims in retail and trend forecasting. She has spent the last two years developing and sharpening her skills in footwear, learning multiple aspects towards her dream job as a Merchandiser.

Matriculating from the Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High School in 2010, Lutfiyya attended the Pietermaritzburg School of Fashion. She joined the Jump Start Pre-Production Programme at the age of 23, in 2016  after a recruitment presentation was made at the fashion school.

After graduating top of her class, she started working as a sample chaser for a footwear manufacturer, and has since progressed to coordinator, and now, merchandising and designing.  “I now work with designer’s issues, what we call board cards, which are basically job cards, and I track their progress on our sample board in order to get the shoe out of the factory, costed and sent to the consumer,” says Lutfiyya, describing her job.

“The Jump Start Programme has impacted my life tremendously. I am independent and on my own two feet. Jump Start made me an employable candidate, even though I had no previous work experience. Through the programme I have gained knowledge, training and experience,” says Lutfiyya.

She emphasises that the Programme requires commitment and dedication. Lutfiyya Gafoor is stepping up her career in the footwear industry, and intends to further her career as she gains more hands-on experience.

Words Farzanah Asmal