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Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) colleges offer studies that are more practical than university courses and sometimes better suited to certain work environments. For instance, if you study accounting through TVET, you will do 18 months of theory and 18 months of internship in a company. At the end, you will get a National Diploma, equivalent to the one attained at a university. But you will have work experience and many employers prefer to hire someone who is already trained for the job.


TVET colleges offer a wide range of studies in engineering/artisans, services (hairdressing, child care, cosmetology, catering, commercial, tourism), business (secretary, financial, clerical work), computers, arts, agriculture, etc.

Central Johannesburg College, for instance, offers studies in Engineering (electrical, civil, building), Business (Management, marketing, finance, office admin), Tourism & Hospitality, IT. It has nine campuses (including one in Alexandra).

TVET colleges also offer bridging courses in Maths, Science and other subjects.

After 3 years you can obtain:

  • NCV (National Certificate Vocational) certificate: an industry-focused, three-year certificate for learners who completed Grade 9. The certificate is equivalent to Matric (NQF level 4). Learners who enter with a Grade 11 or 12 are far more likely to graduate.

  • NATED (National Technical Education) programmes: for learners who have completed Grade 12 leading to a national diploma (NQF level 6)


With an N3 or N4 diploma from a TVET college, you may be able to pursue your studies at university (Advanced Diploma). The decision is taken by the head of faculty and you need outstanding results.


  • You will sometimes find a job more easily and the salaries are good. An electrical technician can earn R15 000 - R38 000 per month; Land Surveyor R10 000 -  R35 000; Executive Assistant R10 000 - R40 000; Software Developer R15 000 to R60 000 (2016 figures).

  • There are plenty of job opportunities for artisans, like electricians, carpenters, plumbers, etc.

  • Students can get a bursary from NSFAS.

  • You can register at TVET colleges in January after your Matric results.


  • TVET colleges do not have a good reputation (the pass rate is sometimes very low; teachers not very motivated; teaching is sometimes too rhetorical) but some of them are good (check the Germiston TVET).


  1. Compare NCV courses at different colleges. Not every college offers all options. 

  2. If the college is far from home, check if it offers boarding facilities.

  3. Visit the TVET College before enrolling and speak to learners and teachers. One department in a college can be excellent while the other is the opposite.

  4. Find out if the college is linked to an employer network and the percentage of its graduates that find work, and in what kind of jobs.

  5. Check the level of the certificate (Level 5-8).

  6. Check registration dates every semester to be able to book your place and avoid disappointment. Some courses, like Engineering, are full after only two days.


There are 50 public TVET colleges in the country.

Check the list here:


Nated programmes - Diploma  in Engineering, Business Studies and criminal justice

1. What is a TVET College?
2. What Do They Offer?
3. Pros
4. Cons
5. Our Advice
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