Understanding and highlighting skills shortages and the role of FET colleges

In a recent article published by Solidarity they pointed out the need for our youth to consider attending FET colleges. Further Education and Training Colleges or FET colleges are different to universities in that they offer many of the essential courses to ensure the achievement of the skills and training needed that are essential to the South African Economy.

South Africa is in need of Educated, qualified and experience people with the right skills to assist in growing the economy of SA.

Currently there are in excess of 500000 positions vacant in South Africa but surprisingly, according to solidarity, there are insufficient trained and qualified people to fill these vacancies.

Consider these facts
South Africa has 1 engineer for every 3200 people compared to 1 for every 130 in china- 250 in Europe and 450 in Australia.
The government’s list of scarce and critical skills shows that there is a shortage of 400000 teachers in all subjects which includes teachers at FET colleges.
In 2008 there was a shortage of 22000 accounting specialists – 5300 of whom should be chartered accountants. There are 70000 positions available in Information Technology but only 17000 learners have qualified over the last 10 years.
There is a need for 30000 registered nurses and 10000 pharmacy assistants.

So why are more of our learners not applying for positions at FET colleges? Is it a lack of information or is there a stigma attached to them? Only the youth can comment on this.

Further education and training takes place at any time from grades 10 to 12. At this level there is a need for career counselling and orientation or our youth should be encouraged to approach FET Colleges for more information. At this level it is quite common for learners to want to study for a diploma or certificate course. Diplomas and Certificates should not as far as I am concerned be offered by Universities or studied by Higher Education Candidates.

The Department of Education is offering bursaries for FET college education and training. In addition the Career Advice Services managed by SAQA is offering career advice through its helpline. Call 0860111673 or you can e-mail You can also send and SMS to 072 204 5056 and an advisor will call you back.

Des Squire (Managing Member)


Views: 2095

Add a Comment

You need to be a member of Skills-Universe to add comments!

Join Skills-Universe

Comment by Wilma de Villiers on February 8, 2012 at 21:39

I agree with Martha about the NCV courses.  Students prefer to enroll for the SAQA-accredited Early Childhood Development courses, because it qualifies them in a specific are of employment.  It also gives them access to Higher Education (some training providers).  The NCV Education & Training (3 years) is a general qualification and will give you access to a Level 5 course, but it does not qualify your for a specific career.

Comment by Des Squire on February 6, 2012 at 12:20

Hi Martha and Dr Nick

I agree that some of the learns do ot want to go to FET colleges because of the curriculum as you indicate however my belief is that it is the negative STIGMA attached to FET colleges that poses a greater problem. In addition there is insufficient information related to FET Collegesd available.

If you just take this site for instance how many FET colleges have posted any discussion, debate, curriculum information or even simple information like contacts for FET Colleges. How many FET colleges are promoting themselves as Education Institutes of Choice?????

If you and Dr Nick feel strongly about this issue then you should make some comments on the "Green paper on Post School Education" on this site also.      

Comment by Martha Hlapa on February 6, 2012 at 10:31

I share Dr. Nic's centiment, most of the learners do not want to go to FET colleges after matric because of the NCV curricula, moreover if the do not have subjects like Maths & Science.  They feel like they are wasting three  years with something that is equivalent to matric that they have already passed.  The department has to do something about this.

Comment by Des Squire on February 6, 2012 at 8:49

Latest Developments:

[This Act (Manpower Training Act) is repealed by the Skills Development Act, 1998] 

This Act has been amended by Notice No. R. 808 in Government Gazette No. 23507 dated 14 June 2002, and Notice No. R. 851 in Government Gazette No. 29134 dated 25 August 2006.

Comment by Dale Holdstock on February 6, 2012 at 6:48

  How will the repeal of the Manpower Training Act on 30/9/2012 effect the FET's.

Comment by David Seomanele Mashishi on February 3, 2012 at 22:57

Hi Des. As always you have been very resourceful on matters of training. The issue of establishment and running an FET college has recently been of interest to me. I would love to engage with you further and if possible enlist your advisory services. Please drop me an email at so that we could have an appointment for a formal discussions. 

Comment by Des Squire on February 3, 2012 at 7:13

 A little more on FET colleges in response to Dr Nic J van Neveling 

For Skills Development Training the Further Education and Training Colleges mentioned previously are the way to go. There are +/- 50 colleges and over 250 campuses throughout the country. In addition there is a selection or either Public or Private colleges as mentioned previously. 

There are predominantly two types of programmes on offer by FET colleges. They are vocational and occupational. These programmes are intended to assist students and to provide them with the skills necessary for their future career.

 Occupational programmes include both skills programmes and Learnerships which are offered by FET colleges and accredited private providers. These programmes are intended to equip the learners for formal employment. These occupational courses should offer both theoretical and practical knowledge and experience.

If you are the type of person who is desirous of starting your own business or you would just like to study for a specific trade then this is an ideal option for you. I am a firm believer in qualifying for a trade before considering a university degree.   

Comment by Des Squire on February 3, 2012 at 7:07

In response to Dr. Lourens Ferreira' s question below related to Registration and Accreditation

FET colleges are required to deliver education and training that meets a required standard that falls within the guidelines of the appropriate Quality Assurance Bodies. In the case of FET colleges these bodies are the Department of Higher Education and Training and/or Umalusi. This accreditation is vital as it ensures the qualifications offered fall within and comply with the national guidelines. It also ensure that you, the learner can have your qualification registered on the National Learner Database – this registration will remain with you for the rest of your life and can be easily verified by local and International bodies.

Umalusi accredits Private FET colleges and the Department of Education registers the Public FET Colleges. So these are the certificates you must ask to see as previously mentioned. All FET colleges therefore must be registered and/or accredited by one of the other. If not then the college is operating illegally and should be reported.

In addition Umalusi oversees the accreditation of examination bodies that examine qualifications offered by both public and private colleges.

Accreditation is provided in respect of certain (South African Qualifications Authority) SAQA registered qualifications that form part of the National Qualifications Framework or the NQF. All such qualifications are quality checked and quality assured by the Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) or Umalusi.

Some colleges believe that if they are registered and accredited by the SETA then they can offer full qualifications. THAT IS NOT THE CASE. They must be registered by Umalusi or the Department of Higher Education. Be very careful.

As for the step by step process i suggest you start with the relevant SETA and they can guide you from there.

Comment by Des Squire on February 1, 2012 at 11:52

Hi Thulisile

This is and has always been the case. I am not aware of any changes.   

Comment by Thulisile Madela on February 1, 2012 at 10:24

Des so students will have to pay back NSFAS for this bursaries they get at public FETs at some point?



© 2017   Created by Alan Hammond.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service