Alternative Tertiary Education Options


Even though it is many people’s dream, the odds of becoming a millionaire are as slim as the chances of finding a winning lottery ticket. In this day and age, going to college or university is usually essential if you want to get a well-paying job one day, especially in such a saturated job market. However, this isn't always the right choice for everyone, so what alternative options are there? Keep reading to find out. 



We are taught that there is a formula when it comes to education, and the final factor to twelve years of formal education is another four years (or more) of university. The sum of this equation results is a degree which has, traditionally, been the necessary golden ticket to pursuing a good career. Whether you opt to study a certificate, diploma or degree, the most important thing to remember is that you make use of it to build your career and shape your success.

However, as we are quickly learning, there is not a singular, definitive way of earning a tertiary education. Learners are not often encouraged to explore their options outside of what university holds. While a university degree is invaluable, it is important to take note of the fact that it is not the only means of earning a tertiary education and it isn't always the right path for each individual. Let’s take a look at the alternatives:

1. School Leaver Programmes

Perhaps university is not your first choice and you would like to experience the world of work straight out of school. If this appeals to you, then a school leaver programme may be best suited to you! Not only does a school leaver programme provide you with the extensive experience and knowledge that you need to succeed in the working world, it also provides you with the literacy skills that are necessary in your chosen field, and this could include anything from accounting to client service skills.

2. Gap Years

Of late, the most popular choice for gap year experience is to teach English overseas. While this is a learning experience in its own right, it also provides aspiring teachers with the skills and experience necessary to pursue a teaching career, while having the opportunity to explore a new country at the same time. While a formal qualification is necessary to pursue a teaching career, it is important to remember that, when applying to teach overseas, candidates need to complete various certifications. These certifications allow candidates to teach English in many countries across the world, substituting a formal qualification.

3. Traineeships and Internships

When searching for the ideal programme or course, there are also traineeships and internships to consider! Not only are there a number of these programmes to consider – from aerospace to cooking, it is also important to consider the value of a hands-on traineeship or internship for many candidates who may not find the idea of spending their time in lecture halls appealing.

4. Academies and Specialised Schools

Whether you hope to become a designer or a chef, there are a number of academies and specialised schools across South Africa that offer up a number of different programmes. A certificate or diploma from a recognised academy or specialised school is worth just as much as a university degree when put to good use.

Attending a university is merely a single course of action for young students who are looking to turn their dreams and aspirations into reality. There are other options and choices available to learners who may not want to go this route.

Good starting points for career information are the career advice helpline 0860 111 673 or SMS 0722 045 056) or go online to

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Matric results.

The Matric class of 2022 has been congratulated for making it through their schooling and exam period in circumstances that were not the most favourable. However, for some, the outcome may not have been what was originally planned, but thankfully there other options available for life after matric. 




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