"Congratulations on the sterling work your consultancy continues to offer to raise awareness and build skills to address the inequities faced by marginalised groups like persons with disabilities." Dr Sabie Surtee, HERS-SA

A sample of feedback from students at our recent public Postgraduate Capacitation workshop:
- "Personally I have learned a lot and [am] going back home with [a] fresh mind. Keep it up Dr Layla!!!"
- "I really enjoyed her examples (real-life situations) that she used. It grasped my attention. I am much more positive after this workshop - I thank you."
- "The workshop was presented in an excellent manner and exceeded all expectations. I feel much more prepared for what I need [to] achieve with my own proposal & thesis."
- "I'm impressed!!! Wish you were my supervisor."

"Thank you for a wonderful workshop. I was just about to give up. I'm so motivated."




Photo courtesy of Thea Ngele, who is doing her Master’s in Public Administration (MPA), specifically looking at the throughput of MPA students at UNISA

“Facilitator [Dr Layla Cassim] made me enjoy learning about research. I have been put off in the past when I attended a similar course at a University by someone else, but this has restored my passion to do research […] Definitely one of the best courses I have attended. Thank you for your efforts.” – Researcher at the CSIR at our RICS (Research and Innovation Core Skills) workshop, 14-16 August 2013

“Many thanks, my whole perspective on the PhD has now lifted; I owe this to you.” – PhD student receiving one-on-one coaching from Dr Layla Cassim

About Us

Layla Cassim ERS Consultants CC specialises in offering a range of products and services aimed at the higher education, skills development, research and scientific/ pharmaceutical fields. Our core values are excellence in service delivery, driven by a strong social consciousness and commitment to social justice.
BEE status: 100% Black- and female-owned and -managed.



Layla is a registered, practising pharmacist in South Africa and holds a PhD in Pharmacology, as well as an MBA (cum laude). She is the owner and Managing Member of Layla Cassim ERS Consultants CC. The company is an independent, micro enterprise.

Layla works in both the public and private sector as a pharmacist. She has been a Senior Lecturer in the Division of Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Cape Town. She lectures Pharmacology at both an undergraduate and postgraduate level. Layla is a reviewer for the South African Pharmaceutical Journal. Layla has a special interest in developing performance management systems in pharmacies, so that optimal pharmaceutical care can be provided to patients. Pharmaceutical care is a highly patient-centred philosophy of pharmacy practice in which pharmacists accept responsibility for patients’ medicine-related needs. She also provides a specialist professional service in skills development, workplace transformation, academic and research development, and pharmaceutical support and capacitation.



Promoting the Postgraduate Toolkit on CD, developed by Dr Cassim, at our stall at the NRF’s SA PhD Conference in Cape Town


Research and Work Interests

  • Postgraduate development
  • Pharmaceutical care, patients’ rights and empowerment with regard to health and medicines
  • Rational drug use
  • LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex) rights, health and empowerment
  • Women’s empowerment
  • Skills development

After a three-part workshop with PhD students in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Stellenbosch University, 2016 (photograph courtesy of Jean Pierre Togolo, who is doing his PhD in Sociology, focussing on migration changes in urban development in Yaoundé, Cameroon)


Workshop on Postgraduate Supervision at the

University of Pretoria, 15 May 2013


Dr Layla Cassim with Oholiabs Danladi Tuduks after a workshop at the University of Stellenbosch. Tuduks is doing his Master’s degree in practical theology, specialising in pastoral care and counselling.



Dr Layla Cassim with students at the recent Winter School for Postgraduate Students at Stellenbosch University (15-17 July 2014) (photographs courtesy of Frederick Adetiba, who is doing his Master’s degree in Sociology, specialising in corruption).


At our recent Spring School for Postgraduate Students (27-30 October 2014), held at the Joburg Theatre in Braamfontein. This was our largest ever public workshop (photograph courtesy of Zukiswa Dasheka, who is doing her Master’s degree in Nursing Science, looking specifically at breastfeeding practices among first-time mothers).


At a workshop at Stellenbosch University on 9 April 2015 with Eunice Iloh and Bawana Bawana (photograph courtesy of Eunice Iloh and Bawana Bawana. Eunice is an M.Sc. exchange student in the Department of Animal Sciences, Stellenbosch University, while Bawana is registered for a Master’s degree in Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering)

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news and forthcoming events

          • BREAKING: Our Autumn School for Postgrad Students will be held on 15-19 May 2017! This workshop covers the entire research process, from how to write a proposal, to research design and methodology, thesis writing, publishing papers, mentorship and the student-supervisor relationship. Register now!
          • We are hosting the Human Resources Empowerment Summer School, from November 2016 to February 2017. This includes a whole host of HR-related workshops, ranging from mentorship to performance management and the use of social media for brand management. Register now!
          • Our 6th National Disability Imbizo was held on 29-30 November 2016 at the Joburg Theatre! Once again, we brought together key stakeholders to discuss issues related to the employment and wellbeing of persons with disabilities.
          • The Morning Live show on SABC2 profiled our Postgraduate Capacitation Campaign on 26 July!
          • Our Summer School for Postgraduate Students will be held on 1-4 November 2016 at the Joburg Theatre! This is a comprehensive, 4-day workshop that covers the entire research process, from how to write a research proposal, to research design and methodology, thesis writing, publishing a paper and the student-supervisor relationship. Register now!
          • CONGRATULATIONS! The 2016 winner of our inaugural Amina Sheik Osman and Hazara Bibi Maheter Research Capacitation Award is Ms Gugu Shongwe-Xaba! Gugu is a nurse with a very impressive public health background, who is currently enrolled for her PhD. She is looking at the barriers to breastfeeding in the Sedibeng District, and how to promote early childhood development. We look forward to working with Gugu over the next 12 months!avatar (1)
          • Our next Employment Equity and Human Capital Investment Seminar will be on 29 August – 14 September 2016. We tackle pivotal human resources and labour law challenges in the South African working environment. Register now!
          • Our Durban fundraising dinner for the PCC will be on 16 September 2016 at the Blue Lagoon Conference Centre! >PCC DURBAN Please join us!
          • Our Cape Town fundraising dinner for the PCC will be on 9 September 2016 at the Bo-Kaap Kombuis! PCC CT Please join us!
          • Jacaranda FM has profiled our Postgraduate Capacitation Campaign! Have a listen: Interview
          • BREAKING: We have launched our national fundraising campaign, which aims to provide every postgraduate student in South Africa with their own copy of the Postgraduate Toolkit on DVD! Click here for more information.
          • It’s official – we have formed our own running club, called Mercia’s Harriers Athletics Club, which is registered with Athletics Gauteng North. The club is named in honour of Meryl’s mother. We are welcoming new members – it’s not just for serious runners! Anyone who is interested in walking and spending some time outdoors is welcome to join! The vision of the club is to promote a healthy lifestyle and for people to have fun outdoors. Anyone interested in joining the club, please contact Layla at Lcassimers@gmail.com or Meryl at meryl.duplessis@gmail.com.
          • We are launching the Amina Sheik Osman and Hazara Bibi Maheter Research Capacitation Award
            in honour of my grandmothers. This award, made annually, is open to South African Black women over the age of 50 years who are enrolled for or contemplating enrolling for any postgraduate qualification. Further details
          • Our 2016 training calendar is available! This covers a range of human resources, labour law and skills development initiatives. Book now!
          • The 2016 price of the Postgraduate Toolkit on DVD (2nd edition) is R500-00 per DVD. There is a special discounted rate of R400-00 for staff/ students at the following institutions: University of Limpopo, Stellenbosch University, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Human Sciences Research Council. To order a copy of the DVD, please click here!
          • We were honoured to have a stall at the National Research Foundation’s recent SA PhD Regional Conferences in Polokwane (21-22 October 2015) and East London (12 November 2015). This was a wonderful opportunity for us to showcase our Postgraduate Toolkit on DVD to a wider audience of researchers. See you at the NRF’s next conference in Bloemfontein (25-26 February 2016)!
          • Our 5th National Disability Imbizo was held on 22-23 October 2015! It was an opportunity for key stakeholders, especially from the mining industry, to discuss issues of importance in enhancing the employment of people with disabilities. This year, we were honoured to have two presentations by Dr Meryl du Plessis, who specialises in disability law.
          • BREAKING NEWS: The second edition of our Postgraduate Toolkit on DVD was successfully launched at our 4th National Postgraduate Development Imbizo on 11 August 2015! The second edition contains extensive updates and voice recordings of PowerPoint recordings of selected chapters. The Postgraduate Toolkit remains a ground-breaking resource to assist postgraduate students across disciplines complete their degrees successfully. Purchase your copy of the 2nd edition of the Postgraduate Toolkit on DVD now!
          • We have had a successful year of public workshops in 2015! Our Summer School for Postgraduate Students was held for the first time in East London in March, and we had a Winter School and Spring School for Postgraduate Students in Johannesburg, in July and October, respectively. These workshops cover the entire research process, from the proposal stage, to research design and methodology, thesis writing, how to write an academic paper and mentorship in the research context. Watch out for our 2016 public workshop dates!
          • Our associate, Dr Nozi Mjoli, will be facilitating an Enneagram workshop on 19 September 2015. This workshop helps you identify your personality type, for enhanced career success. Register now!
          • Our Human Capital Investment Seminar was held on 26-27 November 2014 and we had an exciting line-up of Human Resources and Employment Equity-related topics!
          • Our 3rd National Postgraduate Development Imbizo was successfully held on 11 November 2014. It was a day of robust discussion on transformation, supervision and how to increase research output in South Africa.
          • Layla recently spoke at the Healthcare Technology Assessment Conference on the use of technology for pharmacovigilance. We looked at the Codeine Care Initiative in South Africa, and some of its weaknesses.
          • African Solidarity with Palestine: Please sign this petition by African scholars and academics.
          • Exciting news! Layla has been chosen to be a module leader in the online STARS (Structured Training for African Researchers) programme, run by the Association of Commonwealth Universities. Layla is responsible for developing the module on grant application and research proposal writing.
          • This is an excellent, must-read article by Prof. Andrea Smith on Heteropatriarchy & the Three Pillars of White Supremacy. Very relevant to South Africa.
          • Layla recently spoke at the Pharma Market Access & Pricing conference on how to design an Integrated Performance Management System to allow for the provision of pharmaceutical care, a key component of which is making medicines accessible and affordable to the public.
          • We are proud to announce a new addition to our website! The Labour & Social Security Corner contains writings on disability, social security and labour law by Dr Meryl du Plessis. Her first article that we are profiling is a recent one on the social model of disability and the right to education.
          • November is Diabetes Awareness Month! There are numerous runs and walks being held across the country to raise awareness of this condition, and the importance of exercise and healthy living in managing diabetes
          • Our Women’s Leadership Seminar was successfully hosted recently, on 12-13 September
          • NEW! Our highly successful Postgraduate Capacitation workshop has been expanded to a 4-day Summer School for Postgraduate Students, 11-14 November 2013
          • Dr Layla Cassim recently facilitated another RICS (Research and Innovation Core Skills) workshop at the CSIR, 14-16 August 2013
          • Our latest and biggest ever public Postgraduate Capacitation workshop was held on 26-27 June 2013. Students from the University of Venda, Central University of Technology, UNISA, University of Cape Town and Tshwane University of Technology all participated in this jam-packed workshop that looked at everything from research proposal writing, grant application writing, research design and methodology to thesis writing and publishing an academic paper.
          • The 3rd National Disability Imbizo was held on 24-25 June 2013
          • Our 2nd National Postgraduate Development Imbizo was successfully held on 13 May 2013
          • Nozi Mjoli bookDr Nozi Mjoli, who spoke on gender diversity in higher education at the Imbizo, has recently written a book, Embracing Gender Diverse Leadership for Innovation in the 21st Century. This important book can be ordered from www.publisher.co.za or directly from Dr Mjoli on nozimjoli@mweb.co.za

Research Methodology workshop, Eastern Cape Provincial Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform, 22-23 October 2012 Research Methodology workshop, Eastern Cape Provincial Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform, 22-23 October 2012

Current and/ or past clients include

            • University of Stellenbosch
            • University of Johannesburg
            • Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)
            • Eastern Cape Provincial Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform
            • University of Pretoria
            • Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
            • University of Limpopo
            • Academie Reformatoriese Opleiding en Studies (Aros)
            • University of Zululand
            • South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (NECSA)
            • South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
            • Association of Commonwealth Universities

Health Corner

Social Responsibility

Layla Cassim ERS Consultants CC is proud to support the following great individuals/ organisations/ movements, and commends them for the very important work that they do:

Layla is passionate about youth development, having compiled two youth anthologies, entitled “Celebrating Youth Awakenings” (Volumes 1 & 2), in 2000 and 2003, respectively.