Skill-up to join SA’s economy

Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges are at the heart of addressing unemployment and skills development. These higher-level education institutions prepare students from Grade 10 onward for knowledge and practical skills in the working world.

South Africa’s TVET colleges are the backbone of South Africa’s future workforce and are especially geared towards students with strong practical and technical skills.

South Africa has fifty TVET colleges that provide both theoretical and practical education in over 300 subjects across a wide range of jobs. TVET colleges also offer the fastest, most cost-effective and most efficient way to enter the workplace in the shortest time.

SA’s TVET colleges are viewed as institutions of choice by the Department of Higher Education, which also offers government grants through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme.

Students have the choice of learning in one of the 200 TVET campuses across the nine provinces in addition to over 300 registered private colleges, all of which offer education and training in preparation for skilled employment.

TVET colleges will enrol over 550 000 students this year. The initial goal was to build college capacity to 2.5-million by 2030, indicating the importance the government attaches to this skilling sector. However, this scheme has fallen behind since Covid-19.

“We are working hard to accelerate our TVET sector,” says Blade Nzimande, Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology. Strategies are in place to provide subsidised financial support to all students and to provide 100 000 work-based opportunities for students to complete their training.”

Nzimande also announced a scheme to fast-track innovation by twinning the Department of Science and Innovation with the Department of Higher Education, to work with TVET colleges to boost innovation projects. The two departments will collaborate to promote entrepreneurship.

TVET colleges offer a vast array of courses with broad appeal that include:

Finance, Economics and Accounting; Management; Tourism; Beauty, skin, and hair; Electrical Infrastructure Construction; Engineering and Related Design; Agriculture; Health; Civil Engineering and Building Construction; Drawing Office Practice; Hospitality; Education and Development; Information Technology and Computer Science; Marketing; Mechatronics; Process Instrumentation; Process Plant Operations; Safety in Society; Plumbing; Nursing; Upholstery and Administration.

The skilled trade qualifications provided by colleges also provide jobs that are always in high demand like electrical work, plumbing, technical applications, maintenance, hairdressing, secretarial and beauty.

There are many benefits in choosing a TVET or Community College to earn a diploma or certificate, or one of the NFQ qualifications offered:

–           College entrance is from Grade 10.

–           Most matric results accepted.

–           Finance is available to families who earn less than R350 000 a month.

–           Courses are shorter, usually 18 months to 36 months.

–           Courses include educational, technical, and theoretical skills and are hands-on.

–           Qualifications can be completed through on-the-job training.

–           TVET courses are suited to those who prefer practice over theory.

–           They give an earlier start to earning potential, and provide a stepping-stone to further education.

–           South Africa has a trades skills shortage.

The future economy is dependent on TVET graduates who are highly skilled for work placement and this is indicated by the number of college graduates who successfully enter the job market.

Prospective students who are still seeking space for an entry-level course should contact their colleges of choice soonest for enrolment in 2023. With four million applications for 163 000 places at universities, many applicants can still follow their career of choice at college.

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