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Hosted by the Knysna Municipality and the Knysna Timber Initiative with support from Wesgro (the Western Cape Province’s tourism, trade, and investment promotion organisation), the workshop will take place on 5 October at Knysna Hollow Country Estate.

Knysna Hollow will reopen just in time for the event after a total rebuild in the wake of last year’s devastating fires.

Entitled, ‘Skills Development as enabler to the regional timber industry growth and development,’ the workshop is the first item on the programme of this year’s Knysna Timber Festival (5-7 October, 2018).

The high calibre of speakers and presenters - all of whom have the deepest level of experience in their fields - reflects the organisers’ position on skills and skills development: that they rank amongst the region’s most immediate and pressing needs.

Members of the industry attending the workshop will have ample opportunities for providing their invaluable input.

Dr. Florus Prinsloo (Apprenticeship Game Changer lead with DEDAT - the Western Cape’s Department of Economic Development and Tourism) will set the scene for the day’s discussion through his presentation, ‘Skills Development as an Enabler to Industry Growth and Development’.

Dr. Prinsloo holds an MBA from the UK’s Henley Management College, and a Doctorate in Organisational Leadership from the University of Johannesburg. During his career, he has worked at executive level for the Department of Labour’s Employment and Skills Development Branch, as CEO of the Mining and Minerals Sector Education Training Authority, and as a technical advisor on the Artisan Development System for the Department of Higher Education. He has also been appointed by the Deputy President to serve on the Human Resource Development Council of South Africa.

Paul Hoffman, project manager of the South Cape Economic Development Partnership, a member of the timber economy work group, and the managing member of H2P Project Management (a business consultancy concerned with export development, and with marketing and strategic planning) will discuss emerging opportunities in the timber economy.

Based in George, Mr. Hoffman is well known in the Southern Cape, having served as the senior business advisor and acting branch manager for SEDA in the region, and as the project manager for SEDA’s CBI export capacity building programme, which assisted numerous companies in the craft, design and small furniture sectors during his watch. (Situated in The Hague, CBI is the Centre for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries, a programme funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.)

Leigh Hayes, Western Cape regional manager of the Fibre Processing and Manufacturing Sector Education and Training Authority (FP&M SETA), will talk on ‘Timber Industry Training & Skills Development: FP&M SETA’s Plan & Programme towards developing and implementing Occupational Qualifications.’

Before transferring to the Western Cape, Ms. Hayes worked as the FP&M SETA’s regional manager for KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape, and the Free State; and before that, she spent fifteen years auditing and accrediting training providers for learnerships and apprenticeships, with specific emphasis on quality management systems, learning programmes and site capacity.

During a session entitled, ‘Mapping Industry Skills Demand and Supply,’ Dr. Prinsloo and Mr. Hoffman will seek industry input on mapping scarce and critical skills demand in the industry value chain (planting, harvesting, milling, construction, design, manufacturing, export, retail, etc.); SETA representatives will provide an overview of accredited skills providers and initiatives in the region; and Dr. Prinsloo will discuss the identification of gaps and project opportunities in the timber economy.

The morning will wrap up with an update on the Knysna Timber Initiative by KTI chairperson and technical director of Fechters Furniture, Morné Smith.

Besides the Skills Development Workshop (which is open only to industry players), this year’s Knysna Timber Festival (at Timber Village in Welbedacht Lane) will also feature a programme of speakers who will appeal to the general public.

Scheduled for Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 October, the Festival’s speaker programme will include topics ranging from ‘Post-fire response of canopy-forming dune thicket and bird communities in Knysna,’ by NMMU masters student, Tiaan Strydom; ‘Rehabilitating the vegetation at Featherbed Nature Reserve after the 2017 fire,’ by the reserve’s horticulturist, Martin Hatchuel; ‘Echoes of Silent Voices: a walk down memory lane with the elders of Knysna's townships’ with Anita Best of Hashtag Tours; the Knysna Municipality’s environmental manager Pam Booth on ‘The Knysna Fires: Environmental management one year later;’ and Why Honey’s Riaan Bosch on, ‘Birds, Bees and Butterflies - How to attract pollinators to your garden.’

The full speaker programme, and the programme of other events and entertainment during the Festival, have been posted to

Members of the timber value chain who wish to attend the Garden Route Regional Timber Industry Stakeholder Workshop from 09h00 to 14h00 on 5 October should should please reserve their places by mailing Petrus van Niekerk (Knysna Municipality - Economic Development) at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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The Knysna Timber Festival is proud to be associated with the following supportive organisations.




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The Knysna Timber Initiative

Karl van Lith (Principle)

T. +27 (0)72 024 1032  |  E. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Dominic Morel (Marketing)

T. +27 (0)82 417 2503  |  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Martin Green (Co-ordinator)

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Knysna Tourism

T. +27 (0)44 382 5510

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