Monday 12 November 2012

Choosing to study a “scarce skill” – why should you do it?

Entering into tertiary education can be a daunting prospect. For one thing, you will get some perspective of just how many young people will be competing for the same type of job when you graduate. If you’re thinking about studying towards a Bachelor of Arts degree – including music and social sciences – chances are you might struggle for years to find employment because of the sheer numbers of people qualifying in the same thing.

The problem of the “unemployed graduate” has become an endemic one, and this year a labour market analyst released a report that found over 600 000 South African graduates were unemployed.

The key to avoiding joining this enormous and ever-growing number of unemployed graduates is choosing your field of study wisely.  Here are some ways that you can give your chances of settling into a great career a serious boost:

Study scarce skills
Here is South Africa’s current list of skills which are in short supply:

* Engineering professionals
* Natural & physical science professionals
* School teachers
* Higher education lecturers
* Health diagnostic & promotion professionals
* Business & systems analysts and programmers
* ICT network & support professionals
* Agricultural, medical and science technicians
* Fabrication engineering trades workers
* Bricklayers, carpenters and joiners
* Electricians
* Food trades workers
* Health and welfare support workers
* Call or contact centre information clerks

Finding yourself a study field on this list in which you can qualify will mean that the chances of finding employment after you qualify will greatly increase.

FET colleges
Another option to give serious consideration to would be to get a diploma at an FET (Further Education and Training) college. And if you think that diplomas aren’t as “good” as degrees, think again. The main advantage of getting a diploma is the hands-on training that you get in the subject you decide to study. A degree will give you theoretical knowledge of the subjects and teaches you to think for yourself, but university students often graduate from university with little to no practical experience, which can add to their difficulty in finding a job, depending on the type of degree they have obtained.

Diplomas, on the other hand, are there to address the skills shortages in South Africa, and focus on practical training rather than the theory of the subject. If you study towards a diploma, you can be assured that you will develop the skills you need to perform a specific job. University graduates might get paid better initially, but that’s only if they can find employment.

Another added benefit of studying for a diploma is that you can choose to upgrade your diploma to a degree at a later stage. Universities will give you credits towards your degree based on existing qualifications.

Work experience
If you have a good work ethic, a can-do attitude and the will to succeed, get out there and start working. You may find that as you work your way up, the opportunity to study further will present itself to you.

Whatever path you choose to take, remember that as long as you believe in yourself and work hard, you are bound to succeed, even if it takes a little longer than you expected. Whatever you do, don’t give up. And remember that Eduloan is here to support and assist you in making those dreams a reality wherever we can – call our customer service centre on 0860 55 44 44 to find out more about getting a study loan.

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