School-leavers who have not yet finalised their study options for next year, should take a serious look at vocational careers, where the demand for qualified and skilled individuals remain high across Kenya, even during slow economic times, an education expert says.
“Too often young people opt for generic degrees at universities, and then later find that they are not adequately prepared for the real world of work, where employers look for people who are trained in specific skills to do specific jobs in specific sectors,” says Elbie Liebenberg, Managing Director of Oxbridge Academy. This serves more than 27 000 distance learning students in South Africa, Kenya, Zambia and Ghana every year, and is a brand of Africa’s leading private education provider ADvTECH.
Liebenberg says that there is still too much pressure for young people to pursue a university education, despite the fact that many graduates struggle to find employment after spending years studying, while at the same time, good careers are accessible to those with vocational training under their belts.
“Many people don’t even know that vocational training exists, and many of those who do, do not fully understand it is. So make sure you are studying for the right reasons – for instance not simply because of any ideas of prestige attached to a university qualification. Do consider how your qualification will prepare you for landing a job after your studies.”
In addition to getting students ready for a specific career, vocational training is often shorter in duration, can be done via distance, or part-time study and fees are likely to be lower, says Liebenberg.
Examples of vocational courses are too many to list in full, but include, Engineering studies, Business Management, Human Resources Management, Educare, Contact Centre Management, Occupational Health and Safety, and Supply Chain and Logistics Management.
“Vocational courses are designed to equip students with job-relevant skills and provide the opportunity to earn a qualification that is directly linked to a chosen career path. Furthermore, a solid grounding in a specific vocation provides a strong position from which to start one’s own business. This means you are not at the mercy of the job market,” Liebenberg says.
“Through vocational education, students can gain the practical knowledge and skills they need to find a job, without having to spend unnecessary time learning about theoretical principles and abstract concepts that are not directly relevant in the working environment.”
The world of work looks very different now from the way it did five or ten years ago, and it keeps changing, Liebenberg notes.
“When considering how to best position yourself for a career, do not decide to go study something and figure out later how you are going to apply your qualification and what you have learned after graduation. You have to decide right from the start what your vision for your future is after completing your studies and determine the best route to make that happen.
“These days, many – if not most – employers prefer candidates who are able to walk in and start being productive on their first day, instead of requiring extensive training that takes up valuable time and costs the company money. This is especially true when it comes to hiring for certain positions, such as IT technicians, office managers, childcare workers, or beauty therapists.”
Before you register always remember that in order to find the right course and the right institution, you should consider factors such as accreditation, fees, student support services, course duration, and curriculum.
“We urge prospective students to first do their homework and identify their needs and expectations and then consider what their personal circumstances allow before finding the course and institution that will be the best fit them personally,” says Liebenberg.
ABOUT OXBRIDGE ACADEMY
Oxbridge Academy is a leader in distance education, and has been offering affordable, accessible education and training opportunities locally and internationally for over 20 years. Oxbridge Academy offers more than 100 courses, in fields ranging from Advertising and Marketing to Tourism and Hospitality, and is part of the JSE-listed ADvTECH PTY Ltd, the largest private education provider in Africa. Registered and accredited by the relevant sector bodies, including the DHET, QCTO, UMALUSI, ETDP SETA, APPETD, ICB, and Saiosh. More than 27 000 students annually take its quality programmes focused on academic excellence and the development of workplace skills.
The ADvTECH Group, a JSE-listed company, is Africa’s largest private education provider and a continental leader in quality education, training, skills development and placement services. The Group reports its performance in a segmental structure reflecting the Schools and Tertiary as two separate education divisions, and Resourcing as the third division.
ADvTECH’s Schools division comprises 10 brands with more than 100 schools across South Africa and includes Gaborone International School in Botswana and Crawford International in Nairobi, Kenya.
It owns nine tertiary brands, across 30 campuses across South Africa and the rest of Africa, and its higher education division, The Independent Institute of Education, is SA’s largest and most accredited private higher education provider. ADvTECH’s nine resourcing brands places thousands of candidates annually assisting graduates to make the transition from the world of study to the world of work.