Understanding and highlighting skills shortages and the role of FET colleges

By dessquire, 31 January, 2012

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 [email protected]. You can also send and SMS to 072 204 5056 and an advisor will call you back.

Des Squire (Managing Member)


[email protected]



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