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So high school is over, the A-Level results are out, the students have collected them and after the joy and heartache what is left is the question what is next? Parents and students alike would want to know the options that are available for the high school graduates.

It can be a scary moment as the decision to be made now might as well determine the rest of one’s life. What we have seen to be common with graduating high school students is that they have no clue how many options they have. It is not only university or college as we have seen in our nation as these top two options have not always brought in the best results in a country facing a high unemployment rate. In this article we will look at the wider spectrum of options after high school.


This by far is the most common route sought after by high school graduates. However, with the few universities in Zimbabwe not all deserving individuals can be enrolled. Thousands of university graduates are churned out every year, but unfortunately not all find jobs as the market cannot meet the supply. It is not a matter of just going to university just to get a degree, these days you need to go to get THE degree that matches your passion, interest and skills while considering the environment you will be intending to work in. These days many are enrolling in universities abroad as well. There are organisations affiliated to embassies of the countries you would want to go study in. The US has a department called Education USA which has all the information regarding studying in the US. The UK has the British Council for studying in the UK. Other countries have education agencies that represent several universities from those countries. Scholarships are also available through these platforms, however there are other scholarships available through organisations that offer scholarships.

Technical college

A great way to ease into college and explore a career of choice is getting into a technical college. Technical college is usually cheaper and involves a more practical approach with some certificates or diplomas easily attainable through a part-time approach. In Zimbabwe there are several polytechnic colleges which specialise in different aspects, for example, forestry at Mutare Polytechnic and Tourism and Hospitality at Bulawayo Poly. Other technical colleges offer courses in agriculture, film making, catering and beauty therapy. It is also at these technical colleges that students on apprenticeship can be enrolled on a part-time basis.

Professional courses

Professional courses are mostly for careers in the services industry which include marketing, purchasing and supply, human resources and laboratory technician courses with different boards issuing certificates and diplomas. There are a number of colleges that one can go to as the centre to undertake these courses. The good thing about these courses is that they can be part-time as well and you can easily go at your own pace.

Apprenticeship – learn a trade

In today’s world pursuing a plumbing career might be a better choice than going to university. If you have a special talent or skill that solves a problem that people are willing to pay for, master it and let it make you rich. Plumbing, construction and mechanics are all great examples of important careers that despite the latest aances in technology will always be in high demand. They are also a quick route to self-employment and entrepreneurship than other options. The Apprenticeship Board in Zimbabwe is under the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education and they can give you more information regarding these trades. If you look at most of the in-demand jobs the world over most of these trades are on those critical jobs lists for many countries.

Uniformed forces

The military and the police force seek certain qualities for individuals to be recruited. This is one of the best options for the undecided because it teaches discipline, independence and teamwork, responsibility, camaraderie, honour and leadership skills that can be applied to almost anything in life. Once you are in, there are opportunities to aance your career by taking professional courses of your choice and even enrolling in university.

Straight to work

Nothing gets you on track to adulthood like getting into the work environment. Although the job market is shrinking there are always some part-time gigs that some companies usually recruit high school graduates to fill in. This is not in any way permanent but helps you raise funds that you can use for furthering your education in your desired field. Most of the jobs that are available are usually in the marketing and sales departments. Companies will use brand ambassadors to get their brand known out there. Mostly insurance companies use sales people that sell insurance on a commission basis.

There are some permanent work opportunities that one can pursue. Some come with on the job training diplomas or degrees. After a career fair one student was happy to have found her career of choice, professional driving. It just takes getting a licence and you are off to work getting the experience needed to be a pro.

Sport and arts

Some of the highly paid professions are in this group of sportspersons and artists. Parents are coming to an understanding that their children can have a career in the arts or sports field if the academic options have not been as rosy. There are academies, sports teams with junior teams and one can join to work towards being a professional. In Zimbabwe there are soccer academies, cricket franchisees, swimming clubs and athletics teams that offer training as one builds a professional career.

In the arts sector musicians, actors, comedians and models are just some of the career opportunities that one can pursue. The Zim dancehall genre has given a lifeline to many youths who have gone on to be household names. There are comedians who travel throughout the world making people laugh. The secret in this field is to maintain creativity, professionalism and to invest for life after the prime time.


Although this is not a popular option, at times it is the best thing you can do to realising the path to that career you desire. The system of exams determining 100 percent of the grade you will have at the end of the year can be a let-down should something significant affect you during the period of exams. However sitting once more for the exam can take you to that option you were chasing in the first place. There are many examples of people who came out with low points on the first sitting and went on to score high enough to get back on track. At times in life you have to take one step back so that you have a pivot to leap forward. Do not think of what others will say but focus on what you want to achieve, it is of a greater value.

Gap year (volunteer, travel)

This is not a common option in Zimbabwe but it helps a lot of students that are undecided about the next step. With a gap year one can take time to travel or get into volunteering. Most volunteering options are in the humanitarian sector but it would be good to seek opportunities in various fields to learn more about these industries. Real life exposure like this will help you decide which direction you want to go, and companies will always welcome the free help. Volunteer work of any kind also looks good on a resume.

If you have the resources taking some time to go see the world, learn about different cultures and see how other people live and do business is one other opportunity. Spending time overseas will broaden and mature you, and employers are impressed when they see this on a resume because it shows real world experience in a foreign environment. This is the perfect time to experience a new country before more real life responsibilities hold you back.

Start a business (Network marketing)

It is very common for 18 or 19 year olds to have an idea and turn it into a successful business. Imagine how many children didn’t because they were influenced to take the traditional route of college despite aspirations of starting a business. Parents should always encourage their children to think entrepreneurial. Some of the richest men and women in the world started some businesses when they were teens.

Sir Richard Branson started a publication called Student when he was still in school and it contributed to the early income that build the empire he has today.

Lately there has been an increase of network marketing which involves a lot of building networks and selling products or services. This is a good platform to sharpen your communication skills and the art of network which are both important in life. Some of the common network marketing platforms include perfumes, travel and weight loss products among others.

Terence Mapuka is with zwTEENS an organisation which helps teens with career choices. You can reach Terence on terence@zwteens.com or visit their website www.zwteens.com

Source : The Herald