Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges have seen an increase in interest for the upcoming academic year as students are lured by the prospect of choosing careers that will get them hired.
In a country where the unemployment rate is 34.9%, it is easy to see why students would choose studies that would improve job prospects.
The Western Cape is home to six of 50 TVET colleges in South Africa which cater to the needs of those who want to further their education in practical skills.
Assistant director of marketing and corporate communications at Boland College, Minette Kilian, said there was an increase in applications for the academic year.
“We received a large number of applications for 2022 with approximately 14 000 applications received by the end of September 2021.
“There is a definite increase in the popularity of certain courses compared to last year.”
False Bay College deputy principal Christiana Nel said there was an increased interest in education and training courses.
“Students are showing an increased interest and this is reflected in the number of applications received.
“There has been an increase in demand for our courses.
“Students know that the blend of theory with practical and workplace exposure will add tremendous value to their employability.”
Business development and marketing manager at Northlink College, Ranaldo Van Rooy, confirmed that applications for the academic year were well received.
“There has been an increased demand for business studies including marketing, human resources and business management.
“These courses subsequently have waiting lists,” he said.
The College of Cape Town also recorded an increase in study applications.
The principal, Dr Manager Mhangarai Muswaba, said he believed their digital marketing campaigns worked well.
“We have seen an increased demand for our courses.
“We want our learners to complete their studies in industry-relevant skills and training programmes.”
Sadly, the delay in matric 2021 exam results caused many students to lose their seats at the college.
“Many could not secure a seat and pursue tertiary studies for the first semester because of the unfortunate delay in matric results.
“This is why we ask students to apply one year before the academic year they want to start in,” he said.
Spokesperson for the department, Ishmael Mnisi said 455 apprenticeships and 3 800 learnership opportunities were offered to students from TVET colleges annually in the Western Cape.
While funding a higher education qualification is a challenge for many prospective students, TVET colleges say there are different funding models available.
At Boland, students can apply for the National Student Financial aid Scheme (NSFAS).
False Bay receives 80% of its funding from the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) for ministerial programmes.
“The remaining 20% of course fees are either paid privately by a student or the student can apply for financial aid through NSFAS.
“Occupational programmes are funded through the Sector Education and Training Authority,” said Nel.
Van Rooy said at Northlink, post-matric National Accredited Technical Education Diplomas (NATED) and National Certificate Vocational (NCV) courses were predominantly funded by NSFAS bursaries.
“Certain criteria do have to be met to be eligible for bursaries and students can apply directly on the NSFAS portal.
“Northlink also offers occupational courses such as hairdressing, cosmetology, sport management, IT technician and even performing arts; these courses are unfortunately not funded by NSFAS.”
“Students can source their funding through private companies, donors or fund through their pocket.”
At the College of Cape Town, students can apply for NSFAS funding or college programmes that allow them to receive funding from other sources.
“This includes public-private partnerships, public entities and Setas, as well as former students,” Muswaba said.
While the mainstream universities across the country have incorporated vaccination mandates for students and staff ahead of registration, TVET colleges said they would take their mandate from the national department.
Boland College principal Charles Goodwin said the college strongly advocated for the immunisation of staff and students.
“As a public institution, Boland TVET College is guided by public policy.
“As such, we are subject to national policy on vaccination mandates,” he said.
Nel said False Bay would continue to advocate and encourage students to get the vaccine.
“We have also partnered with clinics to bring vaccination services directly to campuses,” she said.
Northlink said it took directions on vaccines from the DHET.
“To date, there is no set vaccine mandate for students and staff.
“Should this change, the college will comply as per the DHET.
“The college encourages all staff and students to get vaccinated and have had numerous vaccine drives on and off campuses,” he said.
The College of Cape Town said it supported the DHET’s vaccination drive to have all staff vaccinated and communicated the importance of vaccination to all qualifying students.