According to Stats SA, that’s how many young people in South Africa aged 15 to 24 are not in employment, education or training (NEET). Statistically, that’s every third youth you meet. This shocking statistic was released in August, in the middle of TVET Month, during which South Africa’s 50 TVET colleges showcase their offerings of certificate and diploma programme options to South Africa’s school-going youth.
The 2021 TVET Month activities took place under the theme: ‘Youth united for access to quality education, improved student health services and employability’.
TVET Month was launched in 2014 by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) to encourage high school learners and NEET youth to enrol in vocational education and training at TVET colleges.
The month is highlighted on every TVET college calendar, and at False Bay TVET College, our advocacy campaign extends beyond the 30 days. Continual advocacy is vital, as it seems many youths are still unaware of the very wide range of study options available at the Western Cape’s five TVET colleges.
On 3 August 2021, our Marketing Department attended the launch of the 2021 TVET Month hosted by West Coast TVET College in Malmesbury. All five colleges – False Bay TVET College, Northlink College, College of Cape Town, Southern Cape College and West Coast TVET College – were well represented. The event was attended by representatives of NSFAS and several SETAs and officially opened by the Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Mr Buti Manamela. There were also 50 learners present from Wesbank Secondary School and Ilingelethu High School, two local schools. Strict COVID-19 measures were observed throughout the event.
False Bay TVET College showcased welding and carpentry and included a ‘Try A Skill’ activity for the learners. The deputy minister also had a go and successfully completed the activity (see video link: https://twitter.com/HigherEduGovZA/status/1422539235475742722).
The College mounted an integrated campaign that included adverts on radio, a comprehensive digital strategy and an eye-catching double-page spread in the local community papers. Posters and flyers were distributed at schools and community organisations to bring the TVET message to our key stakeholders, who play a pivotal role in the College’s recruitment strategy. We are acknowledging a dozen of our most influential community stakeholders for their continued support and advocacy with the award of custom-designed certificates.
August is also celebrated as Women’s Month. Being mindful of the many career and employment obstacles young women face (almost half of South Africa’s women between 15 and 34 are unemployed), we decided to share the inspirational stories of some of our women alumni on the College’s online platforms to showcase the difference a TVET qualification can make. Two of these brilliant women are even making inroads in the male-dominated spray-painting trade.
TVET colleges offer study options for everyone, starting with a Grade 9 certificate and including the PLP bridging programmes, NC(V), Report 191 and Higher Certificate options. Many financially vulnerable youth are still unaware that they can apply for full funding from NSFAS, which funds hundreds of thousands of TVET college students. NSFAS does not only pay the registration and tuition fees of qualifying students. It also gives each bursary-holder a small personal allowance and a transport allowance for those living less than 40km from the campus. Even if you live in a more remote location, you can still apply to stay at a college hostel, for which NSFAS will pay.
Despite all South Africa’s social and economic problems, we can be proud that every young person has an opportunity through a TVET college for post-school study and a vocational qualification to enhance their employability.
To assist learners to make an informed choice, we have created a series of ‘How to Apply’ video tutorials, taking the applicant through the new online application process and the NSFAS bursary application. These videos will be available on the College’s website and YouTube channel and shared with our social media and WhatsApp audiences.
Bongiwe Mhlongo, False Bay TVET College Digital Marketing Officer