Unlocking job opportunities for SA’s youth

South Africa has a severe shortage of artisans. Learners can start an entry-level N1 technical or trade course with just a Grade 9. Image: Freepik

South Africa has a severe shortage of artisans. Learners can start an entry-level N1 technical or trade course with just a Grade 9. Image: Freepik

Published Jul 18, 2023


Eloise Nolte

Worsening load shedding, record unemployment and a sluggish economy are all understandably dragging down the job prospects for the youth of our country right now. But we’re a resilient nation with the tenacity to focus our attention on positive elements and things that are in our control.

The youth, in particular, have the power to shape a more hopeful future for themselves and their wider communities. Ensuring that they have access to quality post-school education is one key way to help South Africa’s young people get ahead. Thanks to advances in education and technology, learners can obtain accredited or industry-endorsed qualifications without having to go to a university, as quality education providers have opened the doors to affordable and accessible alternatives.

Moreover, with providers such as Optimi College, learners can carry out their studies from anywhere in the country.

Listed below are five examples of the kinds of qualifications and jobs that can be pursued without going to university:

Business management

A solid knowledge of business management can help you thrive as an entrepreneur or “intrapreneur” within a bigger company. Consider pursuing a National Certificate in Small Business Financial Management, which is ICB-accredited. This course covers effective record-keeping, financial management for small businesses, key financial tasks, communication, and accuracy. Upon completion, you’ll have an NQF Level 4 qualification. You can further your studies with an ICB Higher Certificate in Office Administration and ultimately a National Diploma in Financial Accounting.

IT engineering and network engineering

In-demand IT skills can lead to rewarding careers. Network engineering and IT engineering are among the most sought-after skills in this industry, and they can help you earn a decent income. Any good-quality network engineering or IT engineering course should equip you with a combination of CompTIA, Cisco, and Microsoft certifications.

Technical courses

South Africa has a severe shortage of artisans. Trade courses in essential career paths such as boilermaking, welding, fitting and turning, electrical and motor trade are therefore critical. Entry-level qualifications such as N1-N3 Engineering Studies address this need, as learners can start on an N1 level with just a Grade 9. From there, academic progression enables learners to further their education up to diploma level.

Human resources

The field of human resources is becoming more critical in a world where talent and skills drive a company’s growth. Studying towards a career in human resources is now more accessible than ever through Optimi College. You can study towards a National Diploma in Human Resource Management (NQF Level 5), which is accredited by the SABPP. This course covers aspects such as the legislation that governs HR practices, talent acquisition, and skills development. Alternatively, if you have Grade 10 or its equivalent, you qualify for the SABPP-accredited Certificate: Human Resource Administration which is at NQF Level 4.

Occupational health and safety

Another field that is requiring more workers than ever before is the occupational health and safety space. From ensuring that a working environment is operationally safe to putting in place measures that protect company staff’s health, this field has a growing demand for experts. A good study option is an International General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety (IGC). The syllabus has been developed by the National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health (NEBOSH) following extensive consultation with key stakeholders in the industry. Looking at all these options, there’s little doubt that many fields are opening up to young South Africans via more accessible learning channels. The power is in our hands to invest in our youth’s education and the future.

  • Eloise Nolte is the managing director of Optimi College