college+studentsMatric is over and, whether you’re happy with your results or not, it’s time to start thinking about what to do next.

University is not for everyone – the majority of young South Africans can’t afford to study full-time and will need to find a job as soon as possible in order to support themselves. There are others still who won’t be accepted into a tertiary institution.

But don’t despair. There are plenty of options for young school-leavers who aren’t enrolling at a university this year. We break down what these options are and how to pursue them.

Consider a trade

Pursuing a trade is a great option for those who don’t see themselves studying for three years, or for anyone wanting to work with their hands. Trade jobs like electrical work, carpentry and plumbing provide a career that will likely remain secure through economic upheaval. Having a specific skill will undoubtedly provide you with a secure job path.

Many of the technical institutes that offer trade courses are also linked to various work experience programmes, which could lead to a job later along the line. Trade schools focus on specific skill sets for particular jobs, which makes it a good option for people who need to find employment as soon as possible. You could also consider becoming a workplace apprentice to gain some income while you learn the trade.

Jump straight into the workforce

Studying isn’t for everyone. Very often, entering the workforce straight after leaving school is the best thing you can do. Although it can be tricky to find work immediately, with perseverance, it can be done. Getting your first job will give you experience, which will give you confidence. And when leaving school to pursue a career, confidence can be crucial to your success. Remember that it doesn’t have to be your dream job – start anywhere and climb your way up slowly.

Take a course

Peter du Toit of Educate24 says that it is important to take your career into your own hands. “Nothing will impress an employer more than if you’ve taken the time to properly prepare for a job,” said Peter. If you’re struggling to find work, or just want to learn some new skills now that you’re out in the ‘real world’, taking an online course is the perfect option. Platforms like Educate24 offer short and affordable online courses that prepare you for a wide range of jobs – including factory work, retail service and business management. Taking a course by yourself will show that you’re a hard worker, and help to put you ahead of your competition.

Embrace entrepreneurship

For matriculants with enough passion and determination, starting a business, even a small one, is a viable option. Find an idea you love, work with friends who are passionate about the same things as you are, seek guidance from a business mentor, and go for it!

Iman Latief is an Account Manager at Irvine Partners

This article was first published by Sowetan Live on 17 January 2017.