What doors can be opened by a polytechnic qualification?

Education is the key to success.  Quite a very old saying which has somewhat become debatable in this era. However, it is undeniable that the education system has tremendously progressed in the last decade. In effort to remain valuable and relevant in the industry, the need to further one’s education has never been more paramount. Gone are the days when just O-levels were enough to secure somebody of a decent paying job. Nowadays if you snooze you really do lose. In the previous article, What Next?, different routes of proceeding after O-level and A-level studies were outlined. Apprenticeship and polytechnics were some of the great options mentioned. In this article we go deeper and articulate how exactly to go about it.

Rudo with her ZIMSEC A-level results.


So let’s consider two situations: Rudo has just finished her A-levels and would like to go the apprenticeship way but she has no idea where to start or which doors to knock. Same applies to Tariro who has a National Certificate (NC) from a local polytechnic and would like to proceed to university but also doesn’t know how.


So with apprenticeship companies send out invitations for applications, the trades they are offering and the qualifications required. While O-level is the obvious must have, other requirements differ from company to company. The invitations are normally found in newspapers, on radio, TV or companies’ digital platforms hence the key is to stay alert and keep both ears open! After the application process, shortlisted candidates are called in for interviews or to take psychometric tests also known as aptitude tests. Psychometric tests are used by recruiters to assess candidates’ intelligence, skills and personality. And I guess after this, one just waits for a call and hope it will be favourable.

Tariro with her NC certificate

Now let’s talk about Tariro. Unfortunately, just an NC won’t be sufficient for her to proceed to university. However, an NC coupled with A-levels would qualify her. For example, let’s say she did her A-levels but got really low points that she was not eligible for the program she wanted at university. An NC gives her points more weighting. That is, if she has five points at A-level plus an NC she can qualify for a degree program that requires a minimum of ten points. Same applies if she has a National Diploma (ND) from a polytechnic.

However, if Tariro has an NC and a Higher National Diploma (HND), then she can proceed to university. If she holds the above from Kwekwe Polytechnic she can go straight into second year of a five-year Industrial and Manufacturing engineering program at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST). An NC and HND from Bulawayo Polytechnic in the relevant courses will also enable Tariro to jump into second year of Civil Engineering at NUST.

Just in case you are not looking into furthering your education after polytechnic, what can you do with an NC, HND or ND? Well the answer is plenty! You can be employed in any relevant industry. However, the type of work will differ from those with degrees. For example, while a degree holder in civil engineering will be employed as a project manager in a construction company, an NC holder in the same discipline will be employed as an artisan. So it can be rightfully concluded that further education brings about more opportunities.

The breakdown
NC – National Certificate 5 O-levels at C or better including  English 1 year
ND – National Diploma NC 3 years
HND – Higher National Diploma ND 2 years

NB: The duration differs from course to course. The duration provided above is typical for management courses.

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