GARDEN ROUTE NEWS - You've made it. Your matric certificate is in the bag. So, what's next? This is the crucial decision of choosing a career path in an environment where only 50% of the available workforce have a job.
More than 1 million candidates sat for the 2020 matric exam, so you are up against a multitude of contenders not only from your own matric year, but also from previous years.
In 2019, a total of 642 599 learners passed the exam. You have also matriculated at a time when the economy is under huge pressure with Covid-19 restrictions shutting many businesses' doors or forcing owners to downscale. This resulted in millions of job losses on top of the already low pre-Covid employment figures.
Raymond Parsons, an authority on the South African economy, says even with the most confident growth projections, the economy will only recover to these low pre-Covid-19 levels in 2023.
South Africa faces a skills crisis, so it is of utmost importance that you acquire skills that are needed in the job market. Nowadays, even a university degree is no guarantee of employment. So, what then, is next?
There are many interesting and well-paying career options, and you can create your own opportunities, says Dr Willie Cilliers, chairman of the AHi. Cilliers believes entrepreneurship is the future of the world.
We live in a negative world, but lockdown has also created opportunities. Businesses have closed down leaving product and service voids and the "new normal" also leaves the door open for creative thinking.
"Our economy needs entrepreneurs. They are job creators. Since our schools do not prepare learners for entrepreneurship, follow an online course at your own pace, or enroll at a local institution to learn a skill, " he says. "Get into the workplace asap. Volunteer your services at a local business and give it your all. Learn as much as possible of the business system. With your newly found experience and knowledge, go solo. Be willing to sell at markets or work from your parents' garage. Just start, even if at a very small scale. Don't be shy to ask experts for advice."
Adopt a positive mindset or you will be blind to opportunities around you. "While you can start a business without money, you won't succeed if you are negative. The same applies to being an employee."
You really need to know yourself before choosing your career path, advises Elizabeth Campos, a counselling psychologist in Durban. "Each individual has a unique set of qualities with different values and priorities, interests and abilities, as well as personality traits," she says.
"Psychometric tests can help identify your unique set of qualities. Then consider your list of potential jobs. Research basic factors like training requirements, financial obligations, time commitment and job future. Speak to people already in jobs you are interested in."
Combine all this info and then select your two top jobs. "Decide on one and actively pursue it."
Good money can be earned in jobs such as web development, real estate agent, digital marketer, and executive assistant. The latest survey by Xpatweb show that occupations in the engineering and ICT sectors remain most in demand, followed by foreign language speakers and a range of artisans - all of which do not need a degree.
Do your research on the available local trade schools where you can acquire skills in the areas of beauty, hospitality, IT, nursing, frail care, first aid and a host of other high-demand trades.
The world's your oyster
Success depends on you - only you. So, learn that skill or skills that will get you there, and start your road to the top.
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