An inaugural career festival was held at the College of Cape Town’s Crawford campus recently to promote graduates’ employability.The perception exists that students from Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges are less desirable in the workplace. The festival aims to change this mindset, ensuring TVET students are taken seriously by businesses wanting to recruit. It also champions employ interventions to help students find jobs.False Bay, Boland, College of Cape Town, Northlink and West Coast colleges attended the festival, held on Thursday 22 August, to inform learners from various high schools about their courses and career opportunities.Some corporates, including Clicks and Absa, were also present at the festival. Company representatives conducted simulated interviews to give learners an idea of what a real-life interview would be like.Addressing guests at the event, College of Cape Town principal Louis van Niekerk, said it was the responsibility of TVET colleges to respond to the needs of employers. According to him, that would help to eradicate unemployment which he described as a big issue. He said the festival was an intervention to make TVET graduates more attractive to employers.“We must work together to create as many jobs as possible. Colleges must get closer to industries,” he said.Marketing manager for West Coast college Ivan Swart said the event sought to expose students to the sectors that are out there. He added the intention was to open students’ minds to different experiences so that they can decide on which direction to go in once they have completed their studies. Swart hoped the festival would change the perception of employers about TVET colleges.“We want employers to see that TVET colleges are not the step-child of the educational sector and that they produce quality graduates,” he explained.The festival offered the students the opportunity to network and to ask people in the industry questions. Some of the students who attended were Thulisa Gulwa (24), Nontuthuzelo Mvatyana (25), and Augestine Nomdoe (27).Mvatyana, an N6 educare student at Northlink college’s Goodwood campus, said she attended the festival to advance her knowledge.“So far I am happy. I have been to a lot of desks and they have been helpful,” Mvatyana said.As for Gulwa, she is focused on finding a job when she finishes her studies. She is also an N6 educare student from the same campus as Mvatyana. She said events like these were needed. They offer students the opportunity to speak to people who have more experience.Nomdoe is currently completing her practical for her N6 early childhood development studies. For her, the event brought students together to interact and to share experiences and knowledge.“This is a new experience. We are here to celebrate. This is for people to see and weigh their options,” she said.