Thursday, March 4, 2021
Public Relations

Graduate job hunt: starting a career during Covid-19


While university students across South Africa await a delayed graduation, the 2021 job hunt is already underway. Due to the impact of Covid-19, the struggle to find traditional entry-level positions in a country where the youth unemployment rate continues to rise, is greater than ever. For many graduates, this means being unable to pay back student loans and delaying the start of their professional careers.

“With employers cutting back on graduate programmes and new hires, one of the most challenging parts of securing a job during Covid-19 is finding companies that are actively recruiting. Graduates need to be innovative and may need to expand their career interests to secure an income for the time being. In the long run, showing that you can adapt to difficult situations will impress future employers,” says Tom Gibbons, Director at The TEFL Academy, South Africa’s leading course provider of teaching English as a foreign language.

Beyond earning a salary, entry-level jobs provide young people with work experience necessary to progress to the next stage of their careers. This involves learning both technical skills related to their field, as well as soft skills that are essential to success across the board, such as time management, communication, professional conduct, and creativity.

“It’s difficult to learn these skills when you’re in a remote setting, unless the career or company you’re working in has been geared towards remote work,” says Gibbons. “The Teaching English as a Foreign Language industry has been operating online since way before the pandemic, ensuring teachers are prepared for the challenges that come along with remote work. This is a non-negotiable skill as technology becomes more integrated.”

For those with student loans, which in some cases need to start being paid off between three to six months after graduation, landing a first job is a critical step towards being able to repay debt. With average salaries between R190 and R560 per hour, teaching English as a foreign language online could be the solution for young South Africans suffering the effects of an economy in recession.

“Due to a global increase in demand for online English teachers since the start of the pandemic, there are currently thousands of online teaching jobs available to South Africans, listed on the internet. All that you need to get started is a legitimate TEFL qualification – which can be completed in four to six weeks from anywhere in the world – a stable internet connection, a laptop with a microphone and webcam, and a method to receive payments, like a PayPal account,” says Gibbons.

Earning a TEFL qualification can also be the first step towards a long-term teaching career, according to Gibbons; “There’s a misconception that teaching English is just for a gap year or part-time income, but those who enjoy it and stick with it can build a life around teaching. Additionally, once travel and borders open up again, it’s a guaranteed passport to see the world.”

Offering accessible, flexible and cost-effective ways to get TEFL qualified, The TEFL Academy provides internationally accredited and regulated online courses. To give teachers an idea of earning potential, degree requirements, typical student profiles and average teaching hours per country, they have released the 2021 TEFL World Factbook. For more information, visit

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