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An inventory of Mother City institutions offering part-time studies and programmes

Last Update 29 June 2017

Gone are the days when studying only one traditional degree or diploma and then calling learning quits was the norm. In a rapidly evolving contemporary Cape Town, everyone from business managers to house wives is looking to boost their knowledge base, enhance their skills and expand their horizons. Though, for the many that toil from 8 to 5, full-time study simply isn’t an option; hence, quick part-time modules are the way forward.

With this in mind, we’ve compiled an overview of colleges, universities and other institutions offering a range of short courses in Cape Town in a whole array of different disciplines, from fashion, design, photography and copy editing to business, languages and public health. This guide is a go-to resource for both professionals eager to develop their careers and bored individuals just keen to discover something new.


Cape Town College of Fashion Design
The longest running private fashion college in Cape Town, this acclaimed Plumstead-based school, which has been in operation since 1965, has successfully produced some of the country’s finest emerging designers and stylists. Though the Southern Suburbs institution does offer a full-time three-year diploma, its range of short courses is ideal for passionate fashionistas who are eager to enhance their knowledge and skills in particular, focused areas of the clothing sector.
Best for short courses in: pattern and garment construction, fashion design and illustration, and digital fashion applications (like CorelDRAW).
Entry requirements: interested learners don’t need any former experience or qualifications. However, those keen on the garment technology courses will need a sewing machine.
Regularity: courses can repeat up to four times a year, but will only run if a minimum of seven students register.
Duration: between 6 and 12 weeks on average (more advanced courses are between 18 and 24 weeks), with classes happening once a week on weekday evenings or Saturday mornings.

7 Delaney Road | Plumstead | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 762 6710

This nationwide school of brand leadership, which claims a campus in the heart of Cape Town’s CBD, has established itself as a top study choice for anyone looking to enter the world of marketing, communications, brand building and photography. Alongside a range of lengthy full-time and part-time courses that lead to degrees and diplomas, the cutting-edge institution also provides specialised corporate training and offers a number of high-quality, professionally run short learning programmes.
Best for short courses in: various streams of photography (including black and white, wedding, wildlife and portrait photography), copywriting and brand strategy.
Entry requirements: varies from course to course, but generally there are no age or qualification requirements; though, a few of the programmes do ask that learners have some experience in the relevant field.
Regularity: photography courses run up to 10 times a year and brand-related programmes run about 3 times a year.
Duration: courses last anywhere from 3 to 15 weeks, with classes generally taking place once or twice a week.

Third Floor | 11 Adderley Street | City Centre | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 461 8089

Creative Writing with Catherine Eden
Catherine (‘call me Cathy’) Eden has worked in the South African magazine industry for 23 years, both as a writer and editor. She helmed the features department at Fairlady from 1993 - 1999, served briefly as acting editor of the magazine and then went on to work for various other women's titles. While at Femina she won the 2009 Pica award for Feature Writer of the Year. She now freelances, specialising in health and personal development stories, but spends most of her time coaching writers and running short courses and workshops for small groups from her home in Rondebosch.
Best for short courses in: communication skills, creative writing and a programme of journal writing for personal growth.
Entry requirements: none - anyone is welcome to sign up. However, a passion for writing helps. 
Regularity: courses run three to four times a year, depending on request.
Duration: Courses are between one to three sessions in length, running on weekday mornings or evenings.

37 Rouwkoop Road | Rondebosch | +27 (0) 21 689 1584 |

McGillivray Linnegar Associates
John Linnegar and Ken McGillivray, the two brains behind this acclaimed editorial association, are highly experienced, well-respected authorities in the publishing field, having offered their services to a range of prestigious clients, like Oxford University Press and Juta & Company. Needless to say, they are well positioned to offer first-class training to both professionals already in the media or book publishing industries and aspiring language practitioners hoping to break in.
Best for short courses in: copy editing and proofreading (basic and advanced), grammar and publishing-related project management.
Entry requirements:
there are no strict entry criteria, except for the advanced copy editing course, which is aimed at those who have completed the basic programme or who already have editorial experience.
courses run up to three times a year, but depend on demand.
all courses are between two and three full days in length and run either within the week or on consecutive Saturdays.
+27 (0) 21 552 5240 |

The First Aid Academy
Based in Cape Town’s Athlone, this accredited training institution has been coaching both companies and individuals in important health and safety techniques since 2005. The academy, which has five experienced instructors on its staff, constantly evaluates and improves its courses to ensure they are up to date and continuous with the standards laid out by the Resuscitation Council of Southern Africa.
Best for short courses in: basic first aid, occupational first aid (level one, two and three), first aid for infants and toddlers, and first aid for sports-related injuries at school.
Entry requirements:
trainees must be at least of high school-going age; level one courses must be completed before level two and three modules can be tackled.
the basic first aid and occupational first aid level one modules happen every week, whereas the others only run on request.
modules vary in duration from six hours to three full days.

12 Clevily Road | Athlone | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 696 8292

Friends of Design
This Bree Street-based digital arts academy is the go-to learning choice for passionate creatives with a love for arresting layouts and striking design. The cutting-edge school, which is an Apple and Adobe authorised training centre, specialises in providing hands-on, practically focussed part-time courses that equip learners with core industry skills in just a matter of weeks.
Best for short courses in: Adobe software (including Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator), HTML, CSS and WordPress; in essence, the Friends of Design short courses are ideal for anyone looking to enhance their skills in desktop or web publishing.
Entry requirements:
most courses have no criteria for application, but certain web modules require that learners have intermediate knowledge of HTML and CSS.
modules repeat every three months.
courses are between one and five weeks in duration, and all run on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings from 5:30pm to 8:30pm.

Second Floor H.A.K. House | 186 Bree Street | City Centre | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 402 0303

Stellenbosch University
One of the oldest universities in the country, this leading academic institution – it’s the heart and soul of the historical Winelands town of Stellenbosch – has carved a niche for itself internationally as a centre of educational excellence. In 2007, the university launched a separate short courses division devoted to offering a comprehensive array of intensive programmes in a wide range of fields aimed largely at professionals looking to enhance their understanding of a particular topic area.
Best for short courses in: medicine, surgery, psychiatry, physiotherapy, language studies, public leadership, engineering and a range of other fields.
Entry requirements:
entrance criteria vary significantly from course to course, with some requiring a masters or doctorate level of knowledge. Call the division on +27 (0) 21 808 9068 to find out more.
there are courses running every week, but individual courses only repeat once a year or once every two years.
modules are anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks or months in length.

+27 (0) 21 808 9068 |

Varsity College
This leading private education institution, which has campuses around the country (the Cape Town one rests in Rondebosch), is perhaps best known for offering a structured teaching environment to students looking to complete degrees through external distance learning bodies, like UNISA and IMM.  For those looking to enhance their skills and increase their knowledge base part time, the college’s School of Business & Technology does offer a selection of short learning programmes (SLPs) geared at busy working adults.
Best for short courses in: business-related topics, like bookkeeping, accounting, public relations, office administration, entrepreneurship and business management.
Entry requirements: learners taking the bookkeeping course require at least a Grade 10 pass, and those doing the business management module need a matric pass. Phone the college to find out about other criteria.
Regularity: programmes run between two and six times a year, but only if enough students register.
Duration: courses last between 8 and 27 weeks, with classes happening once or twice a week in the evenings or on Saturday mornings.

Belmont Office Park | Belmont Road | Rondebosch | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 685 5021

Resting in Kloof Street right in the vibey, beating centre of the Mother City, this private school of media and creative arts –it’s been around since 1996 – is committed to offering learners quality, practically based training that ensures easy entry into the film, journalism and design industries. While many local and international students register at this institution for full-time programmes, it’s also extremely popular for its range of short courses that impart bursts of knowledge in a variety of areas.
Best for short courses in: film-related subjects (including TV presenting, acting, video editing, video production, scriptwriting, lighting and camerawork), sound engineering and electronic music production.
Entry requirements:
anyone who’s 18 years of age or older can register for one of CityVarsity’s short programmes.
courses run three to four times a year.
programmes are between 4 and 20 weeks in length, and lectures take place once or twice a week in the evenings.

32 Kloof Street | Gardens | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 488 2043

Ubuntu Bridge: Learn Xhosa
This Cape Town-based training institution specialises in offering fun, relevant and practical Xhosa lessons that impart knowledge about both the language and the culture and ensure that participants are well prepared to head out and start having meaningful conversations. The classes typically take place at Montebello Design Centre in Newlands (although the venue can change), and students receive a manual and two audio CDs so that they can continue their learning at home.
Best for short courses in: conversational Xhosa (both foundational and more advanced courses are available).
Entry requirements:
all learners must complete the basic level one course before moving on to level two and three; the pace and tone of the lessons are targeted at an adult level; although, slightly younger students are welcome too.
the foundational module repeats up to six times a year (approximately every two months), but level two and three courses only run on demand.
all courses run over four weeks, with two classes taking place each week (eight in total).

+27 (0) 72 609 0666 |

This progressive virtual education company collaborates with other renowned training establishments, like the University of Cape Town, Random House Struik and the Sports Science Institute of SA, to present a number of interesting brief courses entirely online. This means that modules are taught and assessed via the Internet, and hence students, who receive continuous support and guidance throughout the course from instructors and peers via cyberspace, can study at a time of their convenience from the comfort of their own homes (or anywhere else for that matter).
Best for short courses in: a diverse array of topics: anything from labour law, creative writing and nutrition to corporate coaching, tax administration and interior design.
Entry requirements: anyone is welcome to sign up for GetSmarter courses. There is no age minimum or previous education requirement, but a matric certificate is recommended as many of the courses are university level.
Regularity: modules run up to three or four times a year.
most courses are 10 weeks in total, but they can be anywhere from 6 to 16 weeks.

+27 (0) 21 447 7565 |

Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT)
The only university of technology in the Western Cape, CPUT, which is the result of the joining of the Cape Technikon and the Peninsula Technikon, provides over 30,000 learners with education in a range of fields, including business, social sciences, engineering, informatics and health sciences. In addition to offering undergraduate and postgraduate tuition, the institution also runs a number of short courses aimed at working professionals through three different bodies: the Centre for Continuing Education (CCE), the Graduate Centre for Management (GCM; these courses are credit bearing and hence ideal for those working toward a degree) and the Survival Centre (SC), which specialises in maritime training.
Best for short courses in: management (including human resource, sales, event, marketing, business and project management), finance, tourism, languages and computer skills. The SC’s core course is in offshore survival and fire fighting.
Entry requirements: many of the CCE short courses require some previous experience and all GCM modules call for at least a senior certificate. All SC learners must be over the age of 18, and for some programmes, having done time at sea is essential.
Regularity: CCE: twice a year; GCM: once or twice a year; SC: one to four times a month.
Duration:  CCE: between three and five months, once or twice a week; GCM: eight weeks to eight months, on average; SC: between half a day and 10 days.

Cape Town Campus: Cnr Keizersgracht and Tennant streets | District Six | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 460 3299
Bellville Campus: Symphony Way | Bellville | +27 (0) 21 959 6412
Granger Bay Campus: Beach Road | Mouille Point | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 440 5716

UCT Graduate School of Business
With an emphasis on innovative teaching and research, this postgraduate arm of the University of Cape Town (UCT) is widely considered one of the best value for money business schools in the world. The faculty’s full-time MBA (Masters in Business Administration) has been ranked within the top 100 globally, and learners can expect its inventory of short courses, which are largely aimed at those already working in business-related fields, to be of a similar high standard (note: some, but not all, of these courses are credit bearing).
Best for short courses in: cornerstone business subjects (like finance, project management and strategic thinking), leadership (ideal for new managers and CEOs) and other specialist topics, like business acumen for artists.
Entry requirements: no formal qualifications are required for most of the short courses; although, some may dictate that participants are already working in certain roles – call the school for details.
modules run only once or twice in a 12-month period.
 the length of courses varies from two days to three weeks.

Breakwater Campus | 8 Portswood Road | V&A Waterfront | Cape Town |+27 (0) 21 406 1254 / +27 (0) 21 406 1349

Note: UCT as a whole also runs short courses in an extensive range of different topics as part of its annual summer school programme in January or early February of each year. These modules are open to the general public and have no qualification requirements. Phone +27 (0) 21 650 2888 for details.

University of the Western Cape (UWC)
This Bellville-based university was instrumental in improving access to education during the oppressive Apartheid years, and today continues to be a leader in delivering relevant, high quality tuition for all. The college’s Continuing Education department believes strongly in the value of lifelong learning and therefore works with UWC’s various faculties to provide a full array of brief, intensive courses, some of which are credit bearing, for individuals keen to upskill and further develop their careers.
Best for short courses in: many UWC departments run short courses, so topics vary significantly, but include everything from public health and nursing to economics, industrial psychology and religion.
Entry requirements: some modules have no strict entry criteria, whereas others require workplace experience – it’s best to contact the respective departments for specifics.
Regularity: how often courses run varies greatly from faculty to faculty.
Duration: modules are anywhere from eight hours to one year in length.

Robert Sobukwe Road | Bellville | Cape Town| +27 (0) 21 959 2799

Quirk Education
The biggest independently owned digital marketing agency on the African continent, Quirk places great value on education and has thus launched a range of short courses aimed at sharing the company’s extensive knowledge in the realm of e-communications with others. All of these intensive modules, which are offered in collaboration with Cape Town’s Red & Yellow School, are presented online via a virtual learning platform, so anyone anywhere in the country can benefit from the training.
Best for short courses in: social media, search engine optimisation (SEO), e-marketing and digital writing.
Entry requirements: there are no specific entrance criteria for the introductory courses, but for the more advanced modules, learners will require experience in and a basic understanding of the area of digital marketing addressed by that course.
Regularity: most modules repeat three to four times a year.
Duration: all courses are offered part-time and generally run for between 5 and 10 weeks.

40 Sir Lowry Road | Woodstock | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 462 7353


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