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Young and jobless? Apply for one of 287 000 education assistant posts

The department of basic education is encouraging young unemployed people to apply for a total of 287 000 vacant posts as teacher and general assistants under its employment initiative programme.

The successful candidates will be placed in schools from 1 November until March 2022 under the second phase of the programme, department spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said in a statement. 

Phase one ran from 1 December 2020 to 31 April this year.

“The first phase of the programme went very well,” Mhlanga said. “We had 800 000 applicants last year, however, we only managed to take the 300 000 that we needed.”

To qualify as an education assistant, an applicant must have passed matric English, but an additional national qualifications framework (NQF) certificate is an added advantage.

Mhlanga said the volume of the applications received last year showed a big skills gap in the education sector, especially in rural and remote areas.

A matric certificate is not a requirement for candidates looking to be placed as general school assistants for infrastructure support, or as “sports and enrichment agents”.

Mhlanga said youth between the ages of 18 and 35, who are currently not in education or training or receiving any form of government grant, as well as women and young disabled people “are eligible and encouraged to apply for this enriching experience,”.

He said successful applicants would have an opportunity to receive training in various skills that would equip them for future employment.  The successful candidates will assist teachers with the curriculum, as “reading champions”, information and communication technology “e-cadres”, general maintenance assistants and “sports and enrichment agents”.

Applicants must have good listening and communication skills and the ability to work with people and groups. 

Applicants can only apply online, not at schools or education department offices.

To apply, visit

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Chris Gilili
Chris Gilili is a climate and environmental journalist at the Mail & Guardian’s environmental unit, covering socioeconomic issues and general news. Previously, he was a fellow at amaBhungane, the centre for investigative journalism.

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