Knowledge is power, and there is no greater need for knowledge than the moment when we choose our careers.
For learners, choosing a career path can be incredibly daunting, particularly when they aren’t sure what options are available to them and where to attain information about those options.
Also, let’s not forget about the stress and anxiety that parents and guardians go through as they navigate the career-picking waters with their children.
It’s important to realise that there is no one-size-fits-all option when it comes to choosing a study or career path beyond matric and, if there was, while it’d make life a whole lot easier for many a parent and learner, it’d also make life a lot less interesting.
Each person’s personality, passions, ambitions and goals are as unique as they are, and these are just some of the vital elements that may impact a learners decision when it comes to choosing a study or career path.
Over the past few decades, when a learner was nearing the end of their high school journey, the first step would have been to apply to study at a university.
This was, of course, dependent on if said learner and their family could afford the university fees in the first place. If not, getting a job was next on the list.
The learner then grew up, progressed in a career and, when they had children of their own, they encouraged them to work hard in school to be able to get into university (if they could afford it); and so the cycle went.
As with many things over the years, a lot has changed. These days, there are so many different ways to attain a qualification and gain experience beyond matric.
The exciting thing is that these options are available in South Africa, and internationally, which opens our youth up to a world of options – literally.
So, what options are there for life beyond matric?
Previously, there were but a handful of universities to choose from but these days there are the traditional Universities and also Universities of Technology which offers a wider variety of options to choose from.
The Universities of Technology offers BTech degrees, National Diplomas, Higher certificates and Degree courses. The variety of field that one can study is also so much wider than in the past.
It ranges from Agriculture to Theology. Even the traditional Universities which previously only offered degree courses now offer diploma and certificate courses. There are also many private institutions that offer similar accredited courses.
Many of these institutions are moving to online tuition to accommodate the growing need for tertiary education. A further option is that of colleges and TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) colleges. These colleges can help a learner from grade 10 to follow a more technical /artisanal route. You can start your N1 – N6 courses and then ultimately qualify with a degree.
They offer Engineering and Business studies and within those two categories there are so many options to follow. In many instances these courses prepare you for the working world and specifically focus on the careers where there are skills shortages such as plumbers and electricians to name but a few.
Many of these courses also provide practical training and learners can be placed with potential employers after completing the practical training component.
Many learners who follow this route become employers themselves as they run their own small businesses.
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A gap year
If you’re unsure about which career path you intend to follow, a year away from home (working and travelling) may alter your perspective on your interests and may give you more insight into what you’d eventually like to do.
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The opportunity to travel the world, make new friends, gain international practical work experience and earn and save foreign currency.
Experiencing another land, culture and possibly even a language, while working and living in another country, will undoubtedly promote your future career development upon your return to South Africa.
Many companies offer internships for students who are busy with their studies and intend following certain career paths.
Students should always be on the lookout for internships as it provides valuable practical experience. Although internships are ideal as the student is paid for their services it might be worthwhile to volunteer your services during holiday periods to gain valuable experience.
Most companies love initiate shown by potential employees to secure future careers.
These are but a few of the many options available. There are online platforms like UCANDO which provide parents, guardians and learners with information on a variety of post-school opportunities, from undergraduate degree options to internships, diploma courses, gap year ideas and so much more.
UCANDO matches learners’ school subjects and marks, including their unique strengths and passions, and gives them every possible option – ultimately providing them with an opportunity to make an informed decision about their future.