The South African government created Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges after recognising the shortfall of specialised skills in the country. These institutions aimed to make accredited vocational training more accessible, especially to previously marginalised groups.
With a scarcity of information on TVET colleges, many have shunned these institutions that offer vocational trade qualifications as it was considered that supporting a student in a vocational trade was setting them up for an unsuccessful future. Hence, the reputation of TVET is typically rather poor when compared to that of other educational institutions.
This oversight, says Vimala Ariyan, the CEO of Star Schools, is robbing young people of the opportunity to use technical education as a launch pad into their future.
“TVET institutions are excellent places to study and develop vocational or occupational skills such as those required in Building and Construction, Hospitality, Culinary, Tourism, Information Technology and many more occupations that respond to our fast-changing skills-demand across sectors. The diverse range of programmes offered by TVET colleges is practical, skilled based and nuanced.”
“As a result, these programmes will encourage self-learning, independence and provide learners with employment opportunities. A majority of TVET qualifications also provide another opportunity for learners – and that is to become self-employed. One needs to consider TVET colleges as a route to secure employment/self-employment and as a stepping stone to higher education thereafter,” says Ariyan.
Here are some more reasons why TVET can be an option for you:
TVET colleges are an alternative to universities for learners who want to enter the workforce without getting a traditional degree. These institutions will provide the following:
Increased job opportunities
Most employers require qualifications for certain roles at their company. As many industry practices continue to evolve, attending TVET colleges will provide one with the opportunity to keep one’s skills current while also learning something new.
Furthermore, TVET colleges offer a wide variety of qualifications and courses in the most in-demand skill sectors, amplifying the opportunities available to students.
Cheaper and easily accessible
TVET institutions are known to be less expensive than other tertiary institutions. Also, their entry requirements are not as strict as universities, making TVET college an option that is more inclusive and accessible to all. Many TVET programmes are also funded by organisations and the government.
Courses are externally and independently quality assured
Students who study at a TVET college can be assured their qualifications are accredited and recognised by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) and the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). Courses are also moderated, and quality assured by the Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs).
Hands on experience
Experience is something most employers want from their prospective employees, however, as a new job seeker this is often lacking. TVET colleges, unlike most theory-based institutions, offer hands-on practical experience in the workplace as part of the programme which means that by the time one graduates, one will have an actual understanding of how to execute tasks in one’s chosen field.
There are 50 TVET colleges with over 200 campuses in South Africa, each with its own focus areas and specialisations.
“Attending a TVET college is so much more than just getting a qualification and finding a job. It can be life changing, as one will get the opportunity to gain a variety of soft skills which will assist one in becoming more marketable. In addition, there has been an increase in the number of TVET graduates being hired by businesses in recent years. Learners must take advantage of the opportunities provided by TVET colleges to pursue a vocational career and position themselves in the labour market,” concludes Ariyan.