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Get an Education: University versus TVET College

by Staff Reporter

Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Colleges fulfil an important role in our society, but they tend to be considered less desirable than a University. Let’s unpack why this perspective is not the whole truth…

So if that’s what society thinks, why are TVET Colleges important?

TVET Colleges put the focus on learning skills that are geared towards specific occupations or careers. These occupations are usually overlooked when students are considering careers. There is a stigma in society that obtaining a qualification from a university is better because it automatically qualifies you for a high paying career, such as an accountant or a lawyer. While this may be the case in some instances, overlooking a TVET course could result in you missing out on a career that you enjoy and want to do, over one that potentially pays you more money.

The occupations, that a TVET college prepares you for, are usually more fitting for people who are not happy to sit in an office all day while their soul gets sucked into spread sheets. These are the people who are not afraid to get their hands dirty and to really make a difference. This is particularly important because there are often more jobs available in fields that TVET colleges cater for. More jobs are available because many TVET courses equip their students for jobs that fall within the scarce skills sector – such as education and metallurgical engineering.  This beats getting a university degree and still being unemployable.

So what course options are available at TVET institutions?

The range of courses that can be studied is incredibly varied. Some of these courses include:

  • Education
  • Farm Management
  • Primary Agriculture
  • Business Management
  • Marketing
  • Hospitality
  • Office Administration
  • Mechatronics
  • Public Relations
  • IT
  • Computer Science

These are just some of the most common courses that can be found at TVET institutions. These qualifications are all skills that are in high demand – not just locally, but internationally as well.But some of those Qualifications look like University Courses, won’t I be Disadvantaged?

While some companies would value a University degree above a TVET qualification, the truth of the matter is that a TVET qualification is better suited for some occupations. Using Education as an example, a University student must first complete a three year Bachelor degree in their preferred field, before pursuing a further qualification in Education. However, if your aim is to work with younger children, you could pursue a National Diploma in Early Childhood Development and be ready to start working in 18 months. Hello pay check!

What about the cost?

While a TVET qualification is usually quicker to obtain, it is also more focussed on getting you into the workforce quicker – and at a lower expense to you. Having investigated a number of TVET colleges around Cape Town, a course can cost between R8,000 and R30,000 for a 12 month qualification. This seems a lot more affordable than a university degree, which can cost between R31,500 and R56,000 per year for three years. No wonder the students were protesting!

There are also some shorter courses, such as Junior Bookkeeping and Business Management, which let you pay per subject – this can also help you manage your costs. Many bursaries are available for these TVET qualifications and courses, just as there are for University degrees. This is because they often cater for jobs that the government considers to be in the scare skills sector.

Alright, you’ve convinced me! Where do I sign up?

A useful portal that will help pair you with the qualification of your dreams is the TVET Colleges website. This portal includes all of the government-approved colleges and can tell you where to find them. It is also a good idea to directly contact the colleges that you find interesting from the portal, you can find out more about what they have to offer via their websites.

EduConnect 2Cents

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”

– Confucius

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