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CAPE TOWN - The highly anticipated results of the National Senior Certificate 2017 have been released. For the 75.1 % of matric students who've been successful in obtaining their matric qualification, the question then is what exactly lies ahead?

READ: #MatricResults2017: NSC 2017 pass rate is 75.1% - Motshekga

The results, released Thursday evening by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, shows a significant increase in the overall pass rate from 72.5% in 2016 to 75.1% in 2017. 

The rate has consistently increased since the dawn of democracy. 

“We welcome the fact that the pass rate has consistently improved since the democratic dispensation, especially since the reconfiguration of Education into two separate departments namely Basic Education on one hand and Higher Education and Training on the other hand."

This reaffirms Government’s focus on education as an apex priority and the greatest enabler of the society as well as a key aspect of our programme of Radical Socio-Economic Transformation,” President Jacob Zuma said. 

In light of the increased pass rate, matriculants will now have to weigh up their options. 

According to non-profit social enterprise, Harambee, many matriculants do not have a precise plan of what they would like to do next. 

“Youth are often excluded from employment opportunities, not because they lack talent or potential, but because they have no market access and work experience. Harambee is there to create the network between the employers and the young people”, the NPO says. 

For some matriculants, a tertiary study is an option. However, this depends on the level at which the learner passed matric. 

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Students have the option of attending a university or college, with some choosing to seek immediate employment. For the latter, it is important to recognise the value of a first work opportunity as a stepping-stone to a longer and more sustained employment. 

Harambee says that research shows young people who can keep their first job for a year are more likely to remain permanently employed for life. 

Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator assists people between the ages of 18-34 years old to find their first job. 

Candidates are encouraged to apply online and should not have a criminal record. 

Harambee outlines some feasible entry-level jobs that matriculants could pursue such as sales staff, hotel and restaurant staff and contact centres in the corporate sector. 

Tips for matriculants entering the job market:

- Harambee says that the number one tip for finding a job is to network. You must ask everyone you know including former teachers, family members, friends and professionals for job leads or references.

- A concise, professional CV is an absolute must when looking for a job.

- Prepare a well-written covering letter. Keep it short and treat it as an opportunity to show your high professional standards. 

- Make sure you have an email address so that you can send your CV out electronically. It’s quick and easy to set up a Gmail email account.

- Apply for jobs that are close to where you live - preferably no more than one taxi ride away.

- Apply for jobs that match your skills and experience. For instance, if a job requires a driver’s license and you don’t have one, don’t apply for that job.

- Do as much research as you can on the company you are applying to.

- Practice answering interview questions with a friend.

- Use only one cellphone number when looking for a job - and then keep your phone on and fully charged and answer calls in a professional manner.

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