Study options/training institutions

Formal, lecture-room-based tuition or a combination of on-the-job training combined with spells in the classroom? Part-time study or full-time study? There are many options available to South African school leavers and each has its benefits.

Aprenticeships

An apprentice is a programme that offers training and employment. An apprentice enters into a three to four year contract with a company to learn a trade while earning a salary. It allows for ‘competency-based’ training, which means individuals can complete their training faster when they reach the required skills level. It recognises existing skills and prior experience with some course credits granted, potentially reducing formal training time, both practical and classroom training are offered during an apprenticeship and the programme concludes with a trade test leading to a qualification.

Universities

South Africa has 11 universities, most of which are world-class academic institutions, at the cutting edge of research in certain areas. Although subsidised by the state, the universities are autonomous, reporting to their own councils rather than the government. A matric endorsement is required for the study of university degrees, with a minimum of three subjects passed at the higher, rather than standard, grade, although some universities set additional academic requirements. University courses give students access to professions in demand that require a degree, for example teaching, nursing, architecture, medicine, law and some engineering disciplines. Most university degrees offer the opportunity to work overseas.

Further education and training institutions

South Africa has 50 public further education and training (FET) colleges offering a wide array of courses. These institutions, working with the sector education and training authorities (SETAs), are making great strides in ensuring that the skills they teach are the skills that South African employers need and want to ensure that their businesses thrive. An FET institution course can be a stepping stone to a university programme and some give credit for further university studies. FET courses are a wonderful way to enter a chosen career, whether or not one has achieved a university entrance matriculation. The courses are nationally recognised on the South African National Qualifications Framework (NQF). A standard school-leaving South African senior certificate is sufficient for technical qualifications and diplomas.

Universities of technology

A university of technology offers technological career-directed education programmes, focuses on innovative problem solving research and engages with government/business/industry with communities as end users.

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