It is imperative for job seekers to invest in their career as well as their employment future, especially in today’s competitive job market …

While South Africa has an unemployment rate of 26,7%, there is good news. Employment levels grew quarter-to-quarter in community and social services (51 000) and agriculture (16 000) according to the quarterly labour force survey results released by Statistics South Africa earlier this year.

Despite employment declining quarter-to-quarter in mining, construction, trade, finance and business services, these sectors showed overall annual increases in employment levels; mining (30 000), construction (40 000), trade (115 000) as well as finance and other business services (23 000).

Short training courses impart valuable skills to those currently employed and looking to update or expand their capabilities and will make the unemployed more employable if the right skills are acquired for a particular field.

“We believe that employment and training run parallel with each other. Employers want staff with experience or qualifications and job seekers are eager to improve their chances of finding a job or applying for a job where they can enjoy greater financial benefits,” says Angelique Robbertse, product and marketing manager at Job Mail.

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High quality institutions available

Job seekers and employed individuals may not realise the choice and calibre of training institutes they can find in their local area. Numerous community groups and forums, including Job Mail, advertise a wide range of training institutes and their respective courses.

Another option, especially for those who like to study at their own pace, is an online or distance learning training course.

“Every Wednesday, we send out emails to our job seekers’ database listing training institutions and their offerings. The advantage of advancing skills with these short courses is that they will increase a person’s chances of landing the job they desire,” says Robbertse.

Although not all short courses are equivalent to university diplomas and degrees, potential employers will take note that job applications are from motivated individuals, willing to sharpen their skills within their chosen field and that they have the potential to be a great asset to the business.

Another option, especially for those who like to study at their own pace, is an online or distance learning training course. Its price will be lower than the courses where students are required to attend classes in person, resulting in a substantial saving on tuition fees.

There are infinite possibilities for self-growth, knowledge and skills development.

Here are a few pointers from Job Mail when choosing a training course:

  • Do your research to understand what training the course will cover, its duration, whether classes are after hours, what is expected from you in terms of assignments, the cost and what qualification you’ll obtain on completion.
  • Make sure you enroll with a training institute that is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) where applicable and that the institute and its qualifications are accredited.
  • If you’re currently employed, discuss the course with your manager to ensure the skills you’ll acquire will match what the company expects from you in terms of future career growth.
  • It is a good idea to confirm with your manager whether the company has a skills development fund as some companies do offer to pay for training in full or partially, with a work back obligation attached to funding the training. This means that, in the event of you leaving the company or being dismissed, after completing the training, you’ll be required to repay the company for the training. A work back obligation also usually requires that you attend all classes, submit all assignments required and pass all exams the first time.
  • If you’re currently unemployed, take a look at the skills requirements outlined in the jobs you are applying for. Try to match the course to the skills required for a specific job to increase your chances of securing the job.

“When recruitment agencies and future employers go through hundreds of CVs, your education as well as your work experience will be a focal point in determining your prospects. Taking a course for self-development is a great investment to further your career,“ she concludes.