SA: Learners encouraged to start thinking about career choices

The Deputy Minister for Higher Education and Training, Mduduzi Manana
The Deputy Minister for Higher Education and Training, Mduduzi Manana


The Department of Higher Education and Training is putting paid to the phrase ‘it’s never too early to think about the future’ by increasing the distribution of career booklets in high schools.

The department says it will do this while not losing focus on encouraging learners to send their applications to higher education institutions on time.

The Deputy Minister for Higher Education and Training, Mduduzi Manana, on Monday said that the department developed a career booklet in 2012 to get young people to consider the 100 scarce skills careers as their choice.

The publication of the booklet followed a skills audit did by the department, which identified 100 scarce skills in the country.

However, the department realised that the booklets were not getting to schools in the way it had hoped. This year, the department took a conscious decision to strengthening its monitoring to ensure that every high school in South Africa and learners have the booklets.

Skills mismatch                                                 

Speaking at the launch of the 2015 Apply Now/Khetha Career Guidance Campaign at the University of Johannesburg, Deputy Minister Manana said the skills mismatch found in the country, where many graduates are struggling to find employment, was caused by the lack of proper career counselling and timely advice.

“We are seeking to mitigate that by having the booklet distributed to all high schools and learners in the country so that they know which critical and scarce careers are available in the country. [They will also] know how to apply their mind when choosing a programme at a higher education institution,” Deputy Minister Manana said.

Apply on time

The Apply Now/Khetha Career Guidance Campaign aims to encourage learners to apply on time for admission at post-school learning institutions to avert possible stampedes and long queues that take place at the beginning of each academic year.

The launch of the campaign was informed by the unfortunate death of Gloria Sekwena, a mother of a prospective undergraduate student in 2012. Sekwane lost her life in a stampede related to the process of late applications for last-minute spaces at the University of Johannesburg.

The department renamed the gate at Bunting Road Campus after Sekwane on 03 April 2014.

Deputy Minister said since the Apply now/Khetha Career Guidance Campaign was launched, they have seen minimum walk-ins and long queues at institutions.

He however emphasised that learners must first receive the necessary counselling on the different careers that are out there.

“We cannot have the Apply Now campaign running in isolation and we have to put career guidance at the centre because it’s only when you know what you want to do that you will be encouraged to apply on time.

“The Apply Now campaign has a career guidance component and also has an ‘apply now’ component which complement each other,” the Deputy Minister explained.

He said that the department is looking at establishing provincial offices of the department in the nine provinces and once they have presence in the provinces, they will be able to monitor the distribution of the booklet in a much more effective way.

The department will between March and September visit schools in rural areas starting with Limpopo.

In May, they will visit schools in Northern Cape. In June they will be in Mpumalanga, Bushbuckridge; July in KwaZulu-Natal and August they will be in Eastern Cape and end the visits in the Free State in September.

For career development services, learners can call the department call centre on 086 999 0123.