There is more than one path to success. There are viable alternatives to getting a university degree — such as becoming a qualified artisan.
The pressure is real and enormous when you are told by everyone that you respect and look up to that having a matric is not enough and a Degree is the only way. Stanford Mazhindu, spokesperson of the Uasa trade union, said, “A university degree is not the be-all and end-all of further education.”
Although the value of a degree should not be undermined, it no longer guarantees success in finding a job. A recent study conducted among graduates at the University of Cape Town (UCT) showed that there are graduates, particularly undergraduates, who struggle to secure employment after completing their degrees.
A number of skills are in short supply in the country. The artisan industry is one of them. In 2017, the government announced that South Africa had a shortage of about 40 000 qualified artisans who are needed to work on infrastructure projects such as roads, schools, hospitals and power stations. This is a key obstacle to economic growth, job creation and business expansion”.
Despite being a strategic imperative to stimulate economic transformation through job creation, little has been done to address this shortfall. Instead of producing qualified artisans locally, South Africa continues to import people with the requisite skills and experience from other countries. This is especially problematic as the national unemployment rate is 29.1% — the highest it has been in more than 11 years.