Consumer Studies

Consumer Studies

The subject Consumer Studies focuses on developing knowledge, skills, values and attitudes in learners, to enable them to become responsible and informed consumers of food, clothing, housing, furnishings and household equipment and to use resources optimally and in a sustainable manner.  The subject also promotes the application of knowledge and skills in entrepreneurship and the production of quality marketable products that will meet consumer needs. 

The topics that are covered are: 

• Entrepreneurship – production and marketing
• Food and Nutrition
• Clothing and Fashion
• Housing and Interiors
• Food Production/Practical – the learners will, where possible, cook at least once a cycle.

The Consumer

• Investigate channels for consumer complaints.
• Analyse the implication of taxes, interest rates and inflation on the management of available funds for acquiring food, clothing, housing and furnishings.

Food and Nutrition

• Suggest guidelines for the prevention of nutritional and food-related health conditions.
• Identify consumer issues related to the impact of the selection and use of food on the natural and economic environment and suggest strategies for addressing these issues.


• Examine and describe current fashion trends for young adults.
• Apply clothing theory to the selection of clothing for young adults.
• Identify consumer issues related to the impact of the selection and use of clothing on the natural or economic environment and suggest strategies for addressing these issues.

Housing and Interiors

• Explain the financial and contractual responsibilities of the occupants for different housing options and identify the role players involved.
• Compare and evaluate the choice of large household equipment, and explain the financial, contractual and environmental responsibilities when purchasing     such equipment.
• Discuss the responsible use of municipal services and the importance of waste control related to housing and household equipment.

Entrepreneurship and Production – Theory

• Formulate a plan to produce and market a quality product  - identify business opportunities, develop specifications for a product, control the quality of the product, develop a marketing plan, complete a financial feasibility study, determine production costs, selling price, profit and start-up needs and create a cash-flow projection.

Entrepreneurship and Production – Practical Assessment Task

• Food Production – the learner will formulate a plan for the production of a product, as well as apply theory and demonstrate practical skills to produce quality,              marketable products while working individually.

Why Choose Consumer Studies?
So…… you have read a little about the aims and mission of our department, understood the contents of the syllabus and know more about the weighting of the theory and practical components of the subject.
If you have the qualities we are looking for and have always been interested in cooking, nutrition, fashion design, textiles, interior design and housing, marketing and consumer needs, then you are the person who should be studying Consumer Studies. It is easy to identify those pupils who have chosen it because they really want to, and those who have thought it to be an easy option!

Consumer Studies is a life skill - you will definitely use the skills you learn every day of your life.  So don’t have to study Consumer Studies solely to enter the relevant job opportunity fields (of which there are many) but you can choose it because it will help you in your everyday life and, most of all, it is fun!

Girls who are set on very different career paths could take Consumer Studies at St Mary's DSG - from the prospective doctor or lawyer to fashion designer!

What qualities do I need?

Even though Consumer Studies is fun – remember it is also hard work!
Consumer Studies students are those people who have a passion for food, clothing, housing, soft furnishings and interiors and have high standards, values and goals in life.

Tertiary Education
University of Pretoria
University of the Free State – B Consumer Science Degree
University of Potchefstroom
University of Stellenbosch
University of South Africa (Unisa)
Tshwane University of Technology – and the Universities of Technology in other provinces.

Career Opportunities
(Acknowledgement to the University of the Free State).

The Entrepreneur:
The consumer scientist has the knowledge and skills to undertake an own business and become the employer instead of the employee. A product or service which consumers need can be marketed.

The Consultant:
The consumer scientist is well-equipped to be a consumer consultant.  She can advise the consumer on making a responsible selection considering both the need and the available resources.  Manufacturers and large stores often use consumer consultants to advise their customers and give customer care service.

The Product Developer and Manufacturer:
Knowledge and skills are used to develop new products to satisfy the consumer’s need. 

The Buyer:
This career involves buying for stores that supply foods, clothing or household items.  One could fly all over the world to attend fashion and commercial shows, to decide what will end up on our local store shelves.

The Marketer:
Knowledge and understanding of products and services, and skills used to design and manufacture products are used to promote and market these products and services.

The Quality Control Inspector:
The consumer scientist is well-equipped with the knowledge of the properties of a product as well as the methods to test these properties to become a quality control inspector. Manufacturers need quality control inspectors to keep quality at a set standard.  Large stores and laboratories also employ quality control inspectors to support their buyers and consumer consultants.

The Lecturer or Teacher:
There are opportunities to become an educator in one of several subjects at universities, colleges and schools.

Other career opportunities:

• Consumer Services and Event Management.
• Co-ordinate events within the fields of food or design.
• Marketing consumer products within a company.
• Public Relations and Media.
• Promoting products to consumers and dealing with advertising.
• Product Development and Quality Assurance.
• Developing new consumer products suited to their needs – this could be clothing, food or furnishings.
• Promotion or Liaison Officer - Introduce new / existing products of a wide variety to consumers. Demonstrate, develop, test and market products.
• Journalism - Writing talent and creativity applied in the press, radio, TV media on a full-time, part-time or freelance basis.
• Research - In the food, nutrition, clothing and housing fields in the manufacturing industry and at research institutions.
• Dietician - Register for private practice or in the service of hospitals / private companies.
• Clothing - Clothing designer, dressmaker, merchandiser, fashion buyer.
• Housing - Interior designer, housing consultant.
• Hotel / Restaurant / Catering - Hospitality industry: manage game lodges, offer private catering. Food Services Management.
• Adult education - Develop programmes, do extension work in government services or NGOs in community development.

Date: Monday, 23 May 2016 14:17