South Africa is in trouble but South Africa’s youth can help by learning a vocation.

In 2015, the government acknowledged the importance of youth (defined as persons between the ages of 15 to 35 years) to the country by introducing the “National Youth Policy” One of the policy’s four primary objectives is

“to strengthen the capacity of young people to enable them to take charge of their own well-being through building their assets and ultimately realising their potential to the fullest” (Presidency, 2014, p. 12). The aim of introducing this act was to empower youth with economic opportunities. Despite the good intentions, South Africa is in trouble with a high unemployment rate. The youth Unemployment Rate in South Africa increased to 64.40 percent in the second quarter of 2021 from 63.30 percent in the first quarter of 2021. (source: Statistics South Africa)

 as is shown in the graph below.


source: tradingeconomics.com

This means that over half of youth are unemployed. The combination of matric failure rates and high unemployment does not fall in line with the aims of the National Youth Policy.

The National qualifications Framework (NQF)

The NQF was introduced in 1995 and looks like this…

NQF Level 1:Grade 9 certificate or equivalent
NQF Level 2:Grade 10 certificate or equivalent
NQF Level 3:Grade 11 certificate or equivalent
NQF Level 4:Grade 12 certificate or equivalent
NQF Level 5:Higher Certificate
NQF Level 6:Diploma
NQF Level 7:Bachelor’s Degree
NQF Level 8:Honours Degree
NQF Level 9:Master’s Degree
NQF Level 10:Doctorate Degree

In 2007, the National Certificate Vocational (NCV) was introduced within this NQF. The National Certificate Vocational (NCV) is a new and modern qualification offered at FET and TVET Colleges since January 2007. It is offered at Levels 2, 3 and 4 of the NQF which are equivalent to Grades 10, 11 and 12. The NCV is an alternative to grade 10-12.

Registration with TVET Colleges is encouraged as this interview from 2020 highlights…

What Is an NCV Qualification?

These qualifications were intended to give workplace-based skill sets in a variety of in-demand South African job sectors increasing an individual’s employability. Not everyone is suited to an academic career and university study. What the NCV does is provide students the opportunity to acquire a specific set of skills that are suitable for the workplace. This means that even if students do not complete matriculation, they will have the opportunity to develop their talents and construct a successful career. They can even eventually obtain a matric equivalence with the added advantage of having learnt valuable workplace skills. In general, in order to obtain a National Certificate (Vocational), a student is required to take a total of 7 subjects. These include  3 fundamental subjects (Life Orientation, Mathematics or Mathematical  literacy, Language – usually English) and 4 vocational subjects, of which 3 are compulsory and 1 is optional.

Remember also, that it is also possible to move into higher education programs within the same learning areas with an NCV qualification.


NCV Requirements


To apply for an NCV course, you must meet the following requirements:

 Grade 9 pass certificate OR equivalent (ABET Certificate or NQF 1 Certificate). 

Where can I study?

You can study through a public TVET college of which there are 50 in South Africa (as at 2021). The video given below shows an SABC interview from 2018 with Mr. TK Pooe about the pros and cons of TVET colleges. A searchable list by province is given here. Alternatively you can study through an accredited private FET college. There are many colleges throughout the country.