According to the International Labour Organization, unemployment is far higher than average amongst the world's 386 million people with disabilities who are of working age. Further Education Training (FET) is pivotal in South Africa to address skills shortages and the employment of people with disabilities.

All courses at FET colleges are available to people with disabilities. Most FET colleges offer business courses, engineering courses and hospitality courses. These can be year courses, or semester courses. Applications for next year and the second half of 2011 take place during June and July.

THE ROLE AND FUNCTION OF FET COLLEGES

  • Education andtraining providers in a variety of vocational fields. Most study is offered ona full-time and/or part-time basis and distance learning.
  • Offer both formal andnon-formal programmes (courses) with integrated subject offerings to equiplearners with marketable skills and ensure work readiness.
  • Programmes aredesigned in collaboration with commerce and industry and are nationallyexamined and certified in the following broad areas of study:
  1. Engineering Studies:Building and Civil Engineering, Metal and Mechanical Engineering, MotorMechanics, Electrical Engineering as well as programmes in Horticulture,Maritime Studies and Multi-disciplinary Drawing Office Practice
  2. Business Studies:Business Studies include programmes in Management {Business, Financial,Marketing, Human Resources and Public Management) and Secretarial{Administrative, Legal Secretary, Management Assistant, Medical Secretary andPublic Relations)
  3. Social Services:encompasses workplace-oriented training in Early Childhood Development{Educare), Care of Children, the Handicapped and the Aged
  4. Utility Industries:encompasses workplace-oriented training in Clothing Production, Hospitality andFood Services, Haircare and Cosmetology, Interior Decorating and Tourism
  5. Visual and PerformingArts: This field of study encompasses workplace-orientated training in Art andDesign, Music and Ballet.

According to Susan Dippenaar, Executive Director, ATHENA - a private FET College which offers FET to people with disabilities, there is no prescribed percentage on the intake of people with disabilities for learning institutions. "The Employment Equity Act states that organisations and government need to meet the target of between 2% and 4% of employment of people with disabilities on their payroll. These targets have not been reached yet  -  the public sector with a lower percentage than the private sector."

She says all FET should be available to people with a disability. "However the problem is that the public FET Colleges do not cater for people with disabilities yet. Ramps are in place, but there is still stairs leading to the various floors (no lifts in place). Even private FET Colleges shy away from hosting people with disabilities -  with facilities that are not disability friendly and facilitators / lecturers that are not empowered to the needs of people with disabilities and adaptations in their facilitation / lecturing method and style."

Financial Assistance

Financial  assistance is available from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).They have branches at all FET colleges nationally. First apply to the FET college and then, when accepted, apply for a student loan or bursary through the NSFAS.

These loans and bursaries are for individuals who do not have the financial means to pay for their studies and/or cannot access bank funding, study loans or bursaries. You can apply if you are still at school, if you are a young adult wanting to study or already studying.

Institutions

We have listed some of South Africa's public FET colleges below. We recommend that you check accessibility at the campus and hostel - even if they say that it is accessible. This is especially important with respect to accommodation as some colleges say they are accessible based on rooms being on the ground floor!

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