Most young South Africans believe in obtaining tertiary qualification: survey
And they aspire to do work that is both meaningful and fulfilling
Most young South Africans continue to believe in obtaining a tertiary qualification, according to a recent survey by the South African College of Applied Psychology (Sacap).
Titled “Frame Your Future”, the research found 65% of pupils on the last leg of school aim to enter tertiary studies once they have matriculated, with only 7% looking to enter the workforce immediately and 5% considering a gap year.
According to the survey, young South Africans aspire to do work that is both meaningful and fulfilling,
“What was striking in the Frame Your Future results was this generation’s desire to ensure they care about the work they’re involved in, and most importantly that their work makes a difference to the world,” said Dr Lauren Martin, deputy dean of learning and teaching at Sacap.
The online survey canvassed internet-connected respondents aged between 17 and 20, who are recent school leavers or in grades 11 and 12, to gauge their hopes and fears about the future.
Among the students surveyed, 57% said researching their study options online was the dominant source of information they used to decide on their study paths.
“More than half the respondents said they want to do work that they care about and that makes a difference, 40% have ambitions to do ‘something extraordinary with my work’ and 38% think they will love their work. These sentiments were ranked far more highly than money as the be-all and end-all of work.
“These results highlight how important it is for school leavers to integrate their passions and interests with their skills and capabilities when they are making choices about tertiary study paths.
“Unsurprisingly, study options that are practical and applied-based equip school leavers to integrate their passions in their studies, enabling them to do something extraordinary with their work,” Martin said.
She said given the state of the world and overall anxiety about the fast-changing future of work, these young South Africans indicated a generally positive outlook at this life stage, with 43% saying they wake up feeling hopeful and an additional 14% who are excited to face the day.
It is encouraging that there are many young South Africans who value personal growth and who face their concerns about the country and the world in which they are living with the question: how can I make a difference?Dr Lauren Martin, deputy dean of learning and teaching at Sacap.
While almost half the respondents are open to future international work opportunities temporarily, only 19% said they would seriously consider emigrating.
“What we are seeing is a significant proportion of young people who think they have a contribution to make to their country, with 58% concerned about climate change impacts and 55% believing in the responsibility to vote.
“The latter is an indication of increased willingness to participate in voting among the youth. According to a report on the 2021 local government elections, only 10% of 18 to 19-year-olds and less than 20% of 20 to 35-year-olds were registered to vote.
“There are also high levels of awareness of the systemic issues that plague South Africa such as crime, poverty and the ailing economy, as well as mindfulness when it comes to their health, and particularly, their mental health. These attributes align to the ways Sacap has shaped our accredited educational programmes to match the hopes and dreams of Generation Z,” Martin said.
She said it is encouraging that there are many young South Africans who value personal growth and who face their concerns about the country and the world in which they are living with the question: how can I make a difference?
“What they need as they step onto study paths that will lead them into the world of work is to develop resilience in facing fears and challenges while they are well-supported in gaining the knowledge and skills that will enable them to be positive forces in their future workplaces.”
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