Two Strategies That School Leavers Who Do Not Meet the Admission Requirements for Higher Education May Consider to Still Pursue Their Specific Career Goals

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  • Feb 21, 2024

School leavers in South Africa who do not meet the admission requirements for higher education face a daunting challenge in pursuing their specific career goals. However, there are strategies that they can critically consider to still advance toward their desired careers. In this article, we will critically discuss two strategies that school leavers who do not meet the admission requirements for higher education may consider to still pursue their specific career goals.

Two Strategies That School Leavers

Assessing Alternative Pathways

1. Vocational Training and Certification Programs

One strategy for school leavers who do not meet higher education admission requirements is to pursue vocational training and certification programs. These programs offer practical, hands-on training in specific trades or industries, providing learners with the skills and qualifications needed to enter the workforce directly. In South Africa, vocational training institutions such as Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges offer a wide range of courses in fields such as engineering, hospitality, information technology, and healthcare.

By enrolling in vocational training programs, school leavers can acquire valuable skills and certifications that are in demand in the job market. These programs often have lower entry requirements compared to traditional universities, making them accessible to a wider range of learners. Additionally, vocational training programs typically include work-integrated learning opportunities, such as internships or apprenticeships, which allow learners to gain practical experience and make valuable industry connections.

2. Skills Development and Entrepreneurship Initiatives

Another strategy for school leavers is to focus on skills development and entrepreneurship initiatives. Rather than pursuing formal higher education qualifications, learners can explore opportunities to develop their skills and talents through workshops, seminars, and online courses. South Africa has a growing ecosystem of entrepreneurship support organizations, incubators, and accelerators that offer resources and mentorship to aspiring entrepreneurs.

School leavers can leverage these resources to learn about business management, marketing, finance, and other essential skills needed to start and run their own businesses. By focusing on entrepreneurship, learners have the opportunity to create their own career paths and pursue their passions independently. Initiatives such as the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) and the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) provide support and funding opportunities to young entrepreneurs in South Africa, enabling them to turn their ideas into viable businesses.

Overcoming Challenges and Building Resilience

While pursuing alternative pathways to higher education and career advancement, school leavers may encounter various challenges and obstacles. It’s important for learners to approach these challenges with resilience and determination, recognizing that setbacks are a natural part of the journey towards achieving their goals. By adopting a growth mindset and seeking support from mentors, family members, and community organizations, school leavers can overcome obstacles and continue moving forward on their chosen paths.


In conclusion, while not meeting the admission requirements for higher education may initially seem like a significant setback, school leavers in South Africa have viable alternatives for pursuing their specific career goals. By exploring vocational training and certification programs, as well as skills development and entrepreneurship initiatives, learners can acquire valuable skills, gain practical experience, and ultimately achieve success in their chosen fields. With resilience, determination, and support from their communities, school leavers can overcome obstacles and chart their paths towards fulfilling and rewarding careers.

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