Skills Shortages and the role of TVET Colleges 1

There is a place for TVET colleges and there is a need for our youth to consider attending these colleges. Technical, Vocational, Education and Training Colleges or TVET 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.

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 TVET 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 TVET colleges? Is it a lack of information or is there a stigma attached to them? Only the youth and their parents can comment on this.

Further education and training takes place at any time from the end of grades 9 to 12. At this level there is a need for career counseling and career orientation. It is now that our youth should be encouraged to approach TVET 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 TVET 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 back. In addition learners can contact the Department of Higher Education Career Development Services known as KHETHA on 0869990123  or go to

Des Squire (Managing Member)


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About Des Squire

I specialise in Employment Equity and Skills Development issues. Qualified facilitator, assessor, moderator, verifier and SDF. Available for any related assignments and or freelance work. If ou have a need let's meet to discuss. Quotes for training on request.

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One thought on “Skills Shortages and the role of TVET Colleges

  • Joseph Pasqualli

    I am eager to know what the impact will be now that studying at TVET colleges and Higher education institutions have to offer free education to the “poor”. we as private providers will definitely feel the pinch as students will opt for free education at TVET colleges instead of studying with us.
    Is there any other providers who have the same sentiments?