School’s out! What next?

By admin
07 January 2014

Matrics, if you still haven’t applied to study next year don’t despair – it’s not too late. Here’s where to look.

THE matric exams are done and dusted but many schoolleavers haven’t yet applied to any institutions for further study next year. Don’t worry, there’s still time. Even South Africa’s best colleges will accept applications until February – and for some courses aspiring students can apply right through the year.

The big question isn’t necessarily where or what to study after school but whether to consider a course in practical skills. Many young people regard practical skills as “uncool”, says Michael Bagraim, a labour lawyer and chairman of the human resource portfolio committee at the Cape Chamber of Commerce.

“In reality there’s more of a demand for some of these skills than for a BA student with only academic learning.”

Whether you want to follow an academic course or a technical skills course you have to make an early start after matric. Even if you take a so-called gap year you should try to get work experience in your chosen field of interest and build up appropriate contacts, says Liana Kruger, a Pretoria-based educational psychologist.

And, Bagraim warns, “Chances are any young person who doesn’t have a job for more than two years will stay unemployed.”

According to Statistics South Africa 32 per cent of 15- to 24-year-olds in the country have neither training nor a job – unemployment among young people is at 62 per cent.

“You must have a skill if you want to make a mark in South Africa’s highly competitive labour market,” says Loane Sharpe, labour economist at Adcorp. Unemploymentamong highly skilled and experienced people is only 0,4 per cent, he adds.

Adcorp, South Africa’s largest employment service company, provides technical training for trades such as diesel mechanics, welders, fitters and turners and people who operate computer systems at plants. They try to place people who have appropriate qualifications with companies where they can obtain experience, general manager Charles Robinson says. Every experienced artisan can employ at least four other people, Bagraim says, so it might be wise to start your own business. And it’s fairly easy to obtain government funding to start a small business, he adds.

Which area of study will be most beneficial?

Never miss an opportunity to manage people, Sharpe says. More than half the vacant posts in the private sector are management positions.

“It doesn’t matter which field you want to work in, any management qualification will come in handy.”

Those with a background in maths and science are especially sought-after, Bagraim says, and if you have a specialist skill such as fluency in Mandarin you’re in with a shot.

“Everyone is doing business with China,” he says.

“Right now there’s a company looking for people with proficiency in German coupled with computer skills to work for a foreign online gambling enterprise.”

He suggests you speak to someone at your local chamber of commerce to find out what skills are needed in your city or town. You could also enquire at the Sectoral Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) about which skills are needed and where you could obtain training in your field of interest, from agriculture and banking to the clothing industry and tourism.

Get to know yourself and the world of employment before you choose a study course, Kruger advises.

“I often see students who terminate their studies due to a lack of interest or ability to compete.

“They often choose a career field corresponding with their strongest subject in high school, mostly neglecting their interests or personality.”

Don’t become fixated on studying at a university, she cautions. There are outstanding private colleges and at least 50 public Further Education and Training colleges (FETs), formerly known as technical colleges, where you can study almost anything from building roofs and roads to financial management and project management.

Go to fetcolleges.co.za, www.dhet.gov.za or saqa.org.za for more information.

“Some students’ performance may be only average in an academically orientated institution, while when given an opportunity to be practically trained they may excel,” Kruger says.

“That’s why it’s important to know what kind of training will be best for you. Consult an expert such as an educational psychologist for advice.”

Here are some colleges you can still apply to for next year.

BOSTON COLLEGE

Until when can you apply?

Boston City Campus & Business College offers a discount to Grade 12 students who apply and register before 15 December. But you can apply for most of its courses throughout the year.

Does it have campuses countrywide?

There are 44 branches spread around SA.

What are the most popular courses?

A range of one-month to three-year courses in information technology (IT), a two-year management course, six-month to three-year computer skills courses and a three-year Boston BCom marketing management degree.

What’s the average course fee?

A month-long Excel course costs R1 300 this year and a year-long IT course costs R12 428. The three-year IT course costs about R22 000 a year. For the BCom degree you pay R2 718 a month for nine months and a deposit of R3 268, or R24 800 if you pay up front. These fees are valid until 15 December. Career advisers can help you decide which payment plan suits you best.

Any well-known alumni?

5FM’s DJ Fresh studied for a three-year media diploma at Boston Media House. Other well-known former students in the

media industry are YFM DJ Mo Flava and sports presenter Slim du Plooy. Boston City Campus ex-students include Dina Diamond, head of marketing at Sasfin Bank Limited, Tracy Braithwaite, owner of TTS Travel, and Craig Segal, MD of Nine Mile Media.

DAMELIN

Until when can you apply?

At some of the campuses you have until February 2014 to register. That gives matrics who haven’t achieved university entrance the chance to register at this college.

Does it have campuses countrywide?

There are 17 campuses countrywide. Mowbray in Cape Town, and Randburg, Braamfontein and Bramley in Johannesburg offer degree courses.

What are the most popular courses?

Especially popular are the BCom degrees in computing, information management and business management, and Damelin says

there’s a need for people with these qualifications. Diplomas in human resource management, information technology, journalism and media studies, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and sound engineering are also popular. You can study for all these diplomas full time for three years or part time for four years.

What’s the average course fee?

About R25 000 a year, depending on the course.

Any well-know alumni?

Cricket legend Clive Rice, former Miss SA and businesswoman Basetsane Kumalo and radio presenter Nicole Flint, another former Miss SA.

CITY VARSITY

Until when can you apply?

There’s no closing date but places are limited. Tuition costs increase on 1 January 2014.

Does it have campuses countrywide?

There are campuses in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

What are the most popular courses?

One-year certificate courses in film make-up, journalism (print and digital) and new media development. Two-year diploma courses in professional photography, film production, animation, multimedia development and production, sound engineering, and professional acting for camera, film and TV. There’s also a three-year BA degree in the latter subject.

What’s the average course fee?

About R52 000.

Any well-known alumni?

Alan Shelley, director of the short film Spirit of a Denture starring Hollywood star Kevin Spacey, has won several VUKA! (now TAG) filmmaking awards; actor Armand Aucamp, who’s appeared in international ads and is now on a worldwide tour with stage production Alexander the Great; and Jeremeo Le Cordeur, director, writer and producer of two theatre productions, Dress to Impress and Risk. Three former students – Bryan Little (director), Filipa Domingues (producer) and Grant Appleton (cinematographer) – founded Fly on the Wall Productions. Its clients include MTV, Nike Africa, Discovery Channel and National Geographic.

ROSEBANK COLLEGE

Until when can you apply?

The closing date is 28 February 2014 but places are limited.

Does it have campuses countrywide?

There are campuses in Durban, in central Pretoria and Sunnyside, and in central Johannesburg and Auckland Park.

What are the most popular courses?

Higher certificate in office management (one year), diploma in business management (two years), diploma in journalism (two years) and a BA degree in digital marketing (three years).

What’s the average course fee?

It varies from R7 900 for a higher certificate course to R25 990 for a three-year degree course (payments of R599 to R2 130 a month over 10 months).

- Pieter van Zyl

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