On Thursday, 2 January 2013, South Africa’s 2012 matriculants will know their fate.
Many matriculants will go on to tertiary education, while others will enter the rather bleak-looking job market. Both ways, informed choices are required.
“The annual UASA Employment Reports, prepared by economist Mike Schussler, have shown over the past few years that more South Africans currently receive money from welfare than from employment,” says UASA Chief Corporate Officer Jacques Hugo.
“South Africa has a poor employment growth and economists estimate that matriculants have but a 25% chance of finding a job. Make the best of what you have, and always keep in mind that a job is a privilege in these difficult economic times,” he says.
“However, given the choice and opportunity, matriculants should consider further education. Work towards a career that can make a difference in society. Examples are careers in engineering, plumbing, nursing, teaching science and mathematics,” says Hugo.
Rule one is that you further your studies if at all possible, says Hugo. “While it is important to choose a field where skills are in short supply so that they can find a job after completing their diploma or degree, youngsters must keep in mind that enjoying what you do is as important as the income you will earn. Loving what you do makes a career worthwhile.”
Schussler says if you are not a numbers person, consider a career in the emergency services, graphic design or as a chef. “These may not be the most lucrative careers, but hardworking people still get jobs in these fields. Careers as a pilot, whether in shipping or aviation, and in law, medical services, and certain fields in IT, like IT analyst or strategist, can be very lucrative.”
“A gap year is an option, but only if you return home with a good idea of what you want to do with the rest of your life.
“If you have not decided on what to study it may be worth your while to take a job as a waiter or a salesperson. These jobs give you a broad insight in how people act and offer the opportunity to gain some experience without having to commit too long. You can support yourself while deciding how to tackle your future, easing the burden on your parents while assessing your options,” says Schussler.
Hugo adds that a university degree is not the alpha and omega of further education. “Too few South African youths consider a career as an artisan, i.e. as a plumber or boilermaker, in spite of there being a huge shortage of those skills in our economy. Further Education and Training is another option that should not be slighted,” he says.