North West School of Design (NWSD), founded in 1998, by awarding winning and highly recognized Fashion Entrepreneur, Marlene Oosthuizen, has recently celebrated 25 years of training International and South Africa’s top designers and fashion professionals.

Looking Back

Previously, NWSD was recognised by various regulatory bodies authorised to quality assure training and development in the fashion design industry. The original 2-year course in Clothing Design & Manufacturing received various industry endorsements over the years.

Until March 2019, NWSD provided the South African fashion industry aspirants the opportunity to gain certification from the internationally recognised City and Guilds. Until the recent regulatory changes, North West School of Design offered the highest international Fashion Qualification in South Africa available at that time – A Licentiateship in Fashion.

In 2017 we were notified by the Department of Education and City & Guilds that all City & Guilds Centres were required to lodge applications to register as private colleges with the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET).
Previous legislation did not require these centres to be registered with the DHET.

The Current Situation: International Accreditation:

NWSD is accredited by the British Accreditation Council for Independent Further and Higher Education as an International Centre provider.

NWSD is therefore privately accredited. Private Accreditation is equally important and valuable.

NWSD is not government accredited and registered in South Africa.

Our BAC accreditation assures students that NWSD is a trusted and reliable fashion school which has met a stringent set of international quality assurance standards.

The achievement was awarded after the school underwent a rigorous evaluation process as well as an inspection by the BAC Inspectors from the UK.  This International Accreditation is just one step in ensuring that the school’s approach to teaching and learning is recognised and quality assured providing our students with a better platform to launch their careers in the fashion industry.  

The British Accreditation Council (BAC) provides a comprehensive quality assurance scheme for independent further and higher education in the UK. BAC accreditation is recognised the world over by students, agents, and government officials as the clearest mark of educational quality in the private sector.

The BAC is a member organisation of the European Association for Quality Assurance (ENQA) in Higher Education.

For over 30 years, the British Accreditation Council for Independent Further and Higher Education (BAC) has been responsible for setting standards within the independent further and higher education sector.

Its accreditation is held by hundreds of colleges and training providers in the UK and all over the world. 

Understanding Non-Accredited Courses

The NWSD fulltime course in fashion has been developed over 25 years and is not government accredited.  Our courses are endorsed within the industry due to the institution’s reputation and the success of our graduate designers.  The NWSD course is founded in entrepreneurial development and gives a strong foundation for NWSD graduates who start their own fashion brands. 

“Non-accredited courses are courses that have not been accredited by an official exam body. This doesn’t mean that they are less important. They are commonly referred to as skills-based courses, as they teach you the skills you need to complete your tasks.” – Skills Academy

Non-accredited courses focus on equipping the student with a specific knowledge and skillset.

Non-Accredited courses are mostly more affordable and is therefore ideal for an individual who will be using the skill set to start their own business.

Our Commitment

As in accordance with the Higher Education Act 101 of 1997, North West School of Design, herewith confirms that:

  • At the end of the learning journey, students receive a NWSD Certified Official Graduation Statement which includes the NWSD stamp, the BAC logo, student information as well as the first date of registration, completion date, and the graduation date.  Graduates also receive a Certified Transcript detailing the modules and subjects completed.
  • As a private fashion school, NWSD does not purport to offer qualifications registered on the HEQSF. Currently, the NWSD full time and parttime courses do not lead to a qualification as defined in the Higher Education Qualifications Sub Framework under Government Notice No.36 of August 2013.
  • Our reputation as an institution has ensured that well performing and committed students do receive formal employment in the fashion industry.
  • We understand that according to the Government Notice No.36 of August 2013, a Programme is defined as the purposeful and structured set of learning experiences that leads to a qualification in the Higher Education Qualifications Sub framework (HEQSF). The NWSD Graduation Statement and Transcripts issued from 2020 to 2023 does not purport to being an accredited qualification on the HEQSF but is however a course statement showing the course is a purposeful and structured set of learning experiences serving the fashion industry with skilled designers and entrepreneurs.

    NWSD graduates are highly skilled and employable and well received the fashion industry.