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What to study is a big decision, make sure you study the most up-to-date qualifications possible.


Many qualifications are out of date

 With the changes that have happened in the education landscape since 2010, many Seta qualifications (Certificates (NQF level 5 and Diplomas NQF level 6) are on their way out. For many, the last year you can register for them is 2023. 

 There is a reason for that. So many qualifications developed and offered by educational providers. Qualifications with overlaps. Unfair qualifications where what is needed is so much more for some than others. For some, learning outcomes are sometimes not in line with the latest technology and ways of doing things. There are many problems.

 So, the Quality Council of Trade and Occupations (QCTO) was created to oversee the quality of ALL occupational qualifications. It is now making its impact felt.  If you are smart for 2023, get an occupational qualification.

 “A university qualification does not always leave you with practical experience and the tangible evidence that you can do the job,” says Dr Sandra Roberts, Academic Head at fraycollege.


Labour market needs and graduates’ skills gap to close

 And QCTO was developed to solve one problem. Graduates get a set of tools for the workplace, the workplace needs a set of skills, and there is not a big overlap for many occupations. This is what the QCTO is addressing.

 Each QCTO qualification is created by the sector which needs it.  The net result: labour that meets the needs of the market and less unemployment.


Industry professionals define the needs and solution

 The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) representing the media industry got to work from 2017 ensuring that the gaps that media companies faced, could be closed with graduates.  These graduates would have the occupational skills, but also the skills needed to succeed in the workplace. To produce the journalists that the industry, and country, needs.

The tireless work of some of the biggest brains in journalism and the media (together with the support of the FP&M Seta) bore fruits. As of the present, the Occupational Certificate (OC) Journalist is the only registered occupational certificate for media professionals. More media qualifications are in development, notably for broadcasters, but it is unclear when they will be registered by the QCTO. 

 “This is one of the best qualifications you’re going to find in the country when it comes to being a journalist,” says course facilitator, Mamaponya Motsai. “Once you’re done at the end of the year, you’ll be able to go into any newsroom in the country and start working.”

 To be eligible for the qualification, you need a National Senior Certificate (with or without exemption), and you need to be able to do basic tasks on the computer.


Journalism is not only for journalists

 But the OC Journalist also allows graduates to venture into many other career paths apart from journalism. From copywriting, research, or proofreading, to podcasting, photography, or social media, the course is a stepping-stone for anyone who wants to make engaging content.

Also, regardless of your eventual field, you need to be able to explain in a way the public can understand.  Think about virologists having to explain COVID-19.

The certificate is a NQF Level 5 qualification with 193 credits. It will take you a year to complete and includes work experience.

 By the end of the year, an O.C Journalist graduate should be able to originate and pitch content ideas, report, and gather information and create publishable original content. They should also have a good understanding of different social media networks and how to manage and cater to them.


Real newsroom experience and a portfolio of work

 “The aim has always been to treat the students like they are already in a real-life newsroom,” says Motsai. The students are required to pitch current-newsworthy ideas while conducting strong interviews with real sources with the goal of publishing them on and other outlets. 

 While studying, students develop their portfolio of work, while playing different roles in the newsroom — editors, social media editors, sub-editors, and reporters — to develop their newsroom skills.

 “Frankly, you are not going to find a qualification in South Africa that will leave you better equipped for a job in journalism or content creation.” says Dr Roberts. 

 fraycollege piloted the qualification in 2022, and it is now ready for mass rollout.  But places are limited. Apply now to avoid disappointment.

 Find out more about the course here.