There are a number of skills and qualifications considered critical for South Africa’s economy. The list includes more than 170 occupations – from sheep shearer to millwright – in sectors including engineering, information technology, life and earth sciences, and architecture.
With unemployment hovering at 26.7%, and tertiary education costing as much as R470 000, you should think outside the box when deciding on a career because a large number of the occupations listed on the critical skills list do not require a university degree.
According to the Solidarity Research Institute’s South African Labour Market Report, only 13% of the adult South African population has a tertiary education. That said, there are a number of jobs available for those without degrees, and these jobs offer good opportunities and great earning potential.
For example, tradespeople and artisans are in high demand, and getting into these professions usually requires a diploma, on-the-job training or an apprenticeship.
With this in mind, take the following into consideration when choosing a career path:
DO WHAT YOU LOVE; LOVE WHAT YOU DO
Consider this: if you didn’t have to work a day in your life, what would you do? If your answer to this question is to travel the world, why not consider becoming a flight attendant? If you want to help people, maybe the nursing profession is right for you.
Before you jump on the degree-or-bust bandwagon, find someone with first-hand industry knowledge and seek the advice of a career guidance service.
TAKE A SHORT COURSE
Before you commit to a four-year degree, why not take a short course on something that interests you so that you can assess if it’s the right career path to embark on, without the commitment.
If a short course isn’t for you, offer to help out at a not-for-profit organisation that interests you.
One of the best ways to start a career – or just to find out if you really want to pursue a career in this sector – is to volunteer on a project that lets you discover and learn as much as possible about your area of interest.
When in doubt, think it out.
Take some time to figure out what success means to you. Ask yourself what makes you happy, what kind of lifestyle you hope to have and what kind of hours you want to work.
Once you have done some soul-searching, point your career compass in that direction.
You need to start being creative in your career choices and not settle for the norm. There are hundreds of skills that are in short supply, and if a South African isn’t going to take up the challenge, businesses will look abroad.