What to do after school if you’re not going to university

One of the primary goals of secondary education is to obtain a matric certificate with an achievement rating of 50% –59 % or better in at least four subjects, in order to qualify for acceptance into a university.

But not everyone gets accepted into university, and finding a job straight out of school is a tough undertaking for most.

While it may be challenging, the opportunities to create a career for yourself with just a matric aren’t limited.

Going straight into the job market has immediate advantages such as immediate cash flow, and not going into debt in order to study further.

The current employment scenario is not particularly positive for school leavers in South Africa, with a very high unemployment rate in this population segment. And where there are jobs available, prospective employers often demand a certain amount of experience, which school leavers lack for obvious reasons.

For these reasons, those with only a matric certificate need to look at their options to make them more appealing to employees.

One alternative option to university for matriculants is going into a trade and taking courses at a technical institute.

These courses are often linked to everyday work experience programmes, which may lead to employment after the necessary qualification or certification is obtained. A school leaver can also enrol in workplace apprenticeships which may provide the student with the advantage of generating income while learning a trade at the same time.

Entrepreneurship is another option for matriculants to consider. With its ability to create jobs, generate taxable income and provide growth, entrepreneurship is one of the most important drivers of the South African economy.

Another opportunity to earn a qualification is to apply for a learnership – a work-based programme that allows you to study and train for the job you want while gaining valuable workplace experience.

Why a learnership instead of any other form of qualification?

  1. The students gain new skills when they apply the theoretical content of your studies in the workplace environment.
  2. Guidance from a qualified expert ensures the students obtain the necessary practical knowledge, as well as theoretical knowledge to know how and why certain tasks need to be completed.
  3. Students receive a stipend to assist them with transport costs to and from the training centre and workplace for the duration of the learnership.
  4. It costs you nothing but your time and commitment.

How are learnerships funded?

There are different types of learnerships: funded, unfunded or self-funded. Funded learnerships are financed by the SETA where the company is registered and has applied for funding. With funded Learnerships, SETAs would advise when funding is available. SETAs often advertise in national newspapers and on websites. They send e-mails as well to companies that submit Workplace Skills Plans or participate in other projects with them.

In most instances, SETAs advertises programmes and NQF levels that address skills shortages at a specific time.

Unfunded or self-funded learnerships that are mostly financed by private companies. The company needs to send a letter of intent to a SETA they are registered with indicating when they would like to run a learnership, the qualification that they intend to run and the number of learners the company would like to host.

Companies taking part or hosting learnerships must ensure that their Workplace Skills Plan includes the learnerships they are interested in and address the scarce and critical skills linked to it.

Certain SETAs expect you to submit the learnership funding request when submitting the Workplace Skills Plan, as both of these run concurrently. Ensure you speak to your SETA so you can prepare properly.

Learnership tax rebates

You are able to claim company tax rebates at the beginning and end of the learnership, regardless of whether the learnership is funded or unfunded.

This is subject to the registration of the learners at the SETA and the completion of the learnerships by the learners.  It is also pro-rated according to your tax year.

You need a form from the SETA stating the learner’s registration and progress or completion in order to claim the tax rebate from SARS.

How to find and apply for a learnership

You will need an updated CV, a certified copy of your ID and Matric Certificate (and any other qualifications that you may have) to apply for a learnership.

You can then use one of the following methods to find a learnership:

  • Contact a company that you would want to be on a programme with.
  • Contact a SETA.
  • Contact training companies like CTU Training Solutions directly for learnership opportunities.
  • Use a job portal. These are a valuable source of information for available learnerships.

Once you’ve been selected to participate in a certain learnership, you will also need to provide confirmation of your bank account for your stipend to be paid into.

To find out about opportunities in accredited learnership programmes, visit the CTU Training Solutions website.

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What to do after school if you’re not going to university