Learning Pathways: Which one is for me?

Learning Pathways

The though of life after school can be terrifying and finding a learning pathway that suits you can be a challenge.  Don’t panic – we are here to help you find your way.  

Have you thought about the next step after high school?  Maybe it is too hectic to dwell on.  We are here to tell you that this is an exciting time and now is the time to think about your future.  

Learning Pathways Explained

Learning pathways explain the various post-high school options that are available to learners. There are many ways to pick a path. It may be useful to do an aptitude test or consult a life/career coach. If you’re still undecided, a gap year spent volunteering or travelling is also not to be discounted. It would be better to be sure before making a commitment to something. So we’ve decided to break down a few options for you.

Path one: Study at a Tertiary Institution

The obvious choice for after-school plans is to study further – after all, it’s what’s expected (hang on, we’ll get to that in a moment). More than deciding which university to apply to, school leavers now have a second option they may not have thought of before: a technical or TVET college.

What is a TVET College?

TVET is an abbreviation for Technical and Vocational Education and Training.

Technical and Vocational Education and Training courses are vocational or occupational by nature. This means that the student receives education and training with a view towards a specific range of jobs, employment or entrepreneurial possibilities.  TVET colleges offer a wide range of tertiary qualifications in most fields of study such as:

  • Agriculture
  • Arts and culture
  • Business
  • Commerce and management
  • Education
  • Training and development
  • Manufacturing and technology
  • Service
  • Building construction and security

University is great for academic, theory-based education for those wanting to be doctors, lawyers or accountants or any field geared towards knowledge rather than skills. Courses are theory heavy and are tested on how well they know and apply this. Studying at university also requires years of commitment – anything from three to seven years. University is ideal for those wanting to earn a recognised degree in order to enter a certain field.

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Learnerships and Apprenticeships

Learnerships and Apprenticeships are a fantastic way to gain new skills, network yourself and gain working experience! That’s a fact.

Path two: do an Internship

Also known as work integrated learning, the following two options provide you with an essential element of training and development to be the best in your field. Work integrated learning gives you the chance to:

  •      Develop your professional identity
  •      Advance a theoretical knowledge and transferable skills
  •      Communicate effectively to people in diverse roles
  •      Engage in teamwork, problem posing and solving, and self management
  •      Enhance digital literacy skills, and
  •      Nurture an understanding at a practical level what ethical practice means

Path Three: Complete a Learnership or Apprenticeship

Sometimes the best way to learn on your feet while gaining experience is through learnerships and apprenticeships – no degree required.

What is the Difference between a Learnership and an Apprenticeship?

A learnership is where a company will hire you and train you into the employee they want you to be. They teach you the desired skills for their specific field. It involves theoretical as well as practical training and will eventually lead to a registered qualification.

An apprenticeship is required for trades such as plumbing, engineering, electrical etc. it could last three to four years, depending on the duration of the programme. There is no guarantee of employment in an apprenticeship but it often ends that way, but you gain practical experience in the specific environment.

The placement programmes could take the form of the following:

  • Internships – 8-12 months
  • Learnerships – 4 days per week with one day spent at school
  • Apprenticeships – time period set by the employer and followed by a trade test

Path four: Become an Entrepreneur

So you want to be your own boss? Good for you! But how do you do this? Here are a few general steps on how to become an entrepreneur:

  1. Find your industry or niche within your learning pathways – often times it’s a very simple thing; for example, doing woodwork at school may lead you to want to start your own carpentry business. Other times you see a gap in the market for a product or service that no one has provided. It helps to have a passion for the path you choose. It’s going to be a (hopefully) lifelong commitment.
  2. Research your market – how saturated is the market you want to enter? Is the area where you want to open your business filled with similar ones? Will people even want to purchase your product? Why?
  3. Educate yourself – even the most ‘self-made’ of self-made men have a qualification of some sort. Even if it’s a short course. No matter what anyone says, having a qualification related to your chosen industry will certainly help a lot. Here are some to consider:
  • Business analytics
  • Economics
  • Accounting
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Communication
  • International business
  • Hospitality management
  • Project management
  • Business management
  1. Build your business slowly – it’s said that it takes 5-10  years for a business to really start making a profit. Starting your own business is a labour of love. If you don’t love it, you won’t last five minutes. Don’t rush it. The more time and preparation and care you take to do things properly, the less chance of the business folding after a couple of years. Ultimately, it takes patience, a lot of hard work and sacrifice.

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Well, there you have it. It’s a lot to take in, we know. But this is your life we’re talking about. While it’s never guaranteed things will turn out as we hope, the more prepared we are, the better. Don’t forget to leave room for amazing things to happen.

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