By Devan Moonsamy
The year 2020 has started on a high note for the Matric class of 2019. The Minister of Education Angie Motshekga announced the overall pass rate for the National Senior Certificate being 81.3% – a solid 3% increase from the previous years. This comes as great news for the country.
But with the celebrations comes major life decisions for our millennials. They are standing at a crossroad in which there is the desire to be successful quickly and the other added pressure of living up to society expectations.
Back in the day the career options were limited in terms of what you could do based on the colour of your skin. However, these days all one needs is a smart phone, a few apps to create videos behind filters and ofcourse something to make it go viral.
But is this really the only option we have?
Growing up in a South African home means being encouraged to take on a career path that has long term benefits. The career options that are always almost on top of the list are becoming a doctor, then an accountant or engineer and if the results didn’t add up the safest bet was becoming a teacher (because the school holidays are always a bonus).
But again, are there the only options we have?
Speaking to a few millennials who are trying to see the opportunities for the year has allowed me to identify the need for a conversation around what next?
Why do we not see other careers as profitable?
Why don’t we encourage our kids to ride against the tide as opposed to going with the flow?
Every individual is not the same. Maybe Shane from down the road with his 7 distinctions will sail through his Actuarial Science studies but Elizabeth from the same street would be better off pursuing her career in sales because she is a people’s person. Infact research has shown that highly academic people are not necessarily more successful. However, anyone can be successful with the right attitude.
The misconception we have around careers stems from our lack of knowledge we have to these fields. Given the tough economic times we are in, there is a need to be much more open to transformation. We need to be encouraging our youth to take on careers that touch in with their skill sets.
Imagine forcing someone to do something they have no passion or interest in and that set person waking up each day wishing it would be their last. This brings about the bigger discussion around getting into university.
Unfortunately, we are all not able to afford to send our kids to a tertiary institution. And even if this cost was covered sometimes there isn’t the interest from the child based on their passion elsewhere.
So what options are available for these young people?
Look around you.
Are you only surrounded by engineers, doctors and teachers? Ofcourse not. We have a spectrum of job titles available. From the lady who does the perfect manicure to the barista that uses steam to make the perfect coffee art, we are surrounded by talented individuals.
But why don’t we encourage our youngsters to pursue these careers? Why is a career in travel and tourism not given the same attention as a career in accounting?
Did you know there are a number of Further Education Training (FET) colleges in South Africa that cater for specific education needs? So, you can now pursue a career as a chef, hairdresser and even an electrician.
On the same token we have to talk about those who have not achieved the desired results to enter the job and study sphere.
Believe it or not there is an option for you too.
Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges are an option for those who have failed matric. This offers the opportunity to get a qualification in trade. Courses at these colleges range from office administration, hospitality and tourism, transport and logistics and even computer science.
For some of our millennials taking a gap year is always an appealing idea however this comes with risk. The risk of time not being utilised in determining your talent.
At the same time, you could get a job. Infact many companies offer learnerships and training opportunities so while you figure out your forte you could try your hand at something admin related. Who knows that could be your calling!
On a parting note, the opportunities are endless class of 2019. The world is your canvas and this is your opportunity to go out there and take control of your destiny. Instead of pitching the idea of going viral to your parents try connecting with them on a career move that speaks to your talent.
The goblet of opportunities is overflowing so go on, take a sip, a gulp if you must and quench the thirst of your passion.
Devan Moonsamy is the CEO of ICHAF Training Institute. ICHAF offers SETA-approved training in business skills, computer use, and soft skills. Devan specialises in conflict and diversity management, and regularly conducts seminars on these issues for corporates. To book a seminar with Devan or for other training courses, please use the contact details below.