Despite the massive push to transform the image of TVET colleges it seems businesses are still hesitant to hire these graduates.
In a recent interview Minister of Higher Education , Science and Technology, Dr Blade Nzimande admitted that TVET students are still being overlooked in favour of their university counterparts.
Speaking to Joanne Joseph on Radio 702 he said, "the first priority is for business to open their workplaces for TVET college students in particular, to get work experience."
According to Nzimande internships are the key to ensuring students receive employment offers later on or pursue their own small business ideas.
The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) has fought a long and hard battle against the negative perceptions surrounding TVET colleges.
Over the last few years government has invested millions to improving the quality and relevance of training offered at TVET colleges.
In reality these colleges have become better equipped to produce work ready graduates. The focus on hands-on training combined with industry-related lectures makes these institutions an excellent choice for technical careers.
But breaking the stigma associated with a TVET College education is proving to be a bigger challenge than delivering quality programmes.
Regardless of the ongoing resistance towards these public institutions from both employers and the public however, the department remains committed to promoting TVET colleges as the first choice for prospective students.
During a subsequent parliamentary address the minister said that TVET college campuses were being upgraded to expand their capacity to develop artisans.
"The National Skills Fund has made available R150 million to upgrade workshops at TVET colleges to meet industry requirements," he said.
The shortage of engineering skills in South Africa is one of the reasons government continues to prioritise TVET college training.
Nzimande noted that the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of South Africa (SEIFSA), Retail Motor Industry (RMI), Institute of Plumbing South Africa (IOPSA) and Southern African Institute of Welding (SAIW) were participating in the initiative to upgrade the colleges.
He stressed the importance of partnerships across the board as a means to combatting current and future skills shortages.
Has the perception of TVET colleges changed? Do you think TVET colleges offer quality training?