GTTP is a multi-country educational program to introduce high school learners to career opportunities in Travel & Tourism

Study Opportunities & Funding

Very few people have the resources to study without some kind of financial aid. Whilst some school leavers choose to work for a few years to save for full-time studies, others work while studying on a part-time basis. Bursaries and scholarships can also provide some relief. Getting a loan from a bank is another way to pay for your education, provided you are willing to pay for it. Here’s how to improve your chances of getting the help you need.

Do I qualify for financial aid?

Anyone whose family doesn’t have the financial resources to pay for their studies and can demonstrate academic potential can get financial help.  The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) make funding available. The NSFAS operates from the financial aid offices on campus.

The NSFAS aid is a loan, but up to 40% is written off if the candidate passes his or her subjects each year. The loan portion of a NSFAS bursary has to be paid back once you start working, but a lot of leeway is given to enable you to get on your feet. For more information, click www.nsfas.org.za

Tertiary institutions also have bursaries that are financed by donations or companies. These are not always awarded to students in the direst need, but candidates are often interviewed to make sure they suit the future employment requirements of the sponsoring company. The most important step in getting the financial aid you need is to get the relevant forms from the financial aid office at the institution where you want to study. Then fill them in as comprehensively as you can.

Applicants make all kinds of fundamental errors in filling in their applications. Simple errors, such as not providing a copy of your ID document or proof of school results, can jeopardise the chances of someone who would otherwise have been able to receive financial aid.

Process of application for a NSFAS bursary:

  • Cape University of Technology
  • Border University of Technology
  • Durban Institute of Technology
  • Wits University of Technology
  • Pretoria University of Technology
  • Free State University of Technology
  • TNG/Soshanguve
  • Vaal Triangle University of Technology

To obtain a bursary, the following process and criteria apply to students:

  • You must be registered for a tourism or hospitality course at one of the institutions listed above;
  • Apply for a loan at the financial aid bureau on campus at your institution
  • Undergo an academic potential test
  • Undergo a financial means test
  • If you qualify, and there is NSFAS funding available, you may obtain a loan.

Guidelines for filling in applications:

  • Write legibly on the bursary application form so that it’s easy to read.
  • Fill in the form carefully, giving all details such as career aspirations or personal strengths and weaknesses, as required.
  • Send in your form well in advance of the deadline. In general, you should apply for financial aid a year before you start at a tertiary institution.
  • Be prepared to supply copies of important documents, such as marriage certificate or a parent’s death certificate, if needed.

Can I get a bank loan?

If you don’t qualify for a NSFAS bursary but still need financial aid, you may be able to get a bank loan. All major banks offer a student loan package, but it isn’t automatically granted to everyone who applies.

A parent or friend in employment must sign surety, meaning that they will be responsible for ensuring that the loan is paid back. You’ll also have to provide proof of academic progress. After completing your degree or diploma, bank loans are usually paid off in fixed amounts over the same time period as your studies. A period of grace is available for students who qualify in fields of study where they are required to do internships, articles or community service.

Remember that the interest on the loan must be paid during the student’s years of study and any grace period. This to ensure that the student does not pay interest on interest.

What is the difference between a scholarship, a bursary and a loan?

Scholarship Bursary Loan
Is usually awarded on merit to the students with the top academic results and have no strings attached. The admissions offices of the universities and colleges will be able to direct you to the scholarships that apply to your chosen area of study. People with a gift for a particular sport may also be eligible for a sports scholarship. Is usually given based on financial need. Certain bursaries may bind you to work for a specific company for a year or two. Must be repaid in fixed amounts specified by the bank, once the course is completed.

Learnership Opportunities

If you would prefer to work and study at the same time, contact the training manager of a selected establishment to apply.

There are several national qualifications and learnerships available today, and employers are becoming increasingly involved in implementing these programmes for their existing staff and for new recruits. However the actual opportunities open to you in a company must be discussed with that company beforehand, as nothing is guaranteed.

  • a national qualification is made up of unit standards against which the candidate must prove his or her competence. These qualifications enable people with experience in their jobs to gain a qualification without having to attend a formal institution.
  • a learnership is a structured programme combining theoretical and practical learning that leads to a national qualification. It is a contract entered into by a learner, an employer and a training provider.

Again, when approaching an employer who offers inhouse training, it is important to check that that employer is accredited to provide training.

Study Opportunities

If you would like to study full time toward a career in this field, there are a number of options open to you. The Universities of Technology had a long history in offering practical management qualifications in both Hospitality Management and Tourism Managements. Some academic universities and private higher education institutions also offer these courses.

If you are thinking about studying at a private institution, make sure that they are registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training and are accredited by the Higher Education Quality Committee – HEQC.

Consider which of the following institutions would suit you best:

Institution Education Example Entry level position
University Higher education, largely academic, with little practical experience BA in Tourism Managerial Assistant
University of Technology Academic and practical tuition that includes compulsory experiential education in the industry National diploma in Tourism Management National diploma in Hospitality Management Managerial Assistant
Technical college Vocation-specific tuition with a great deal of practical tuition Certificate in cookery Operator
Private provider Both HET and FET. Must be accredited with the national authorities, the Higher Education and Quality Committee, or Umalusi Certificates and diplomas (must be registered with the South African Qualifications Authority) Depends on the type and level of the course offered

The following table offers links to some of the well known institutions that offer qualifications in the Tourism and Hospitality field

Universities of Technology Academic Universities Private Higher Education
Vaal University of Technology University of Pretoria Centurion Academy
Tshwane University of Technology University of the North West (Potch) Damelin
Durban University of Technology University of Johannesburg Durban Computer College
Central University of Technology Durbanville College
Cape Peninsula University of Technology Ed-U City Campus
Nelson Mandela University of Technology ICESA City Campus
Walter Sisulu University of Technology Independent Institute of Education
Management College of Southern Africa
Midrand Graduate Institute
Oval International Computer Education

Accreditation Agencies

Choose your institution carefully. Many claim to be registered or accredited with THETA or other ETQA (education and training quality assurance body), but can they prove it?

This can be very confusing when trying to figure out who is responsible for accrediting the trainers and providers of education. The following table may help you to understand this better:

NQF Level Agency Responsibility
5 – 8 HEQC: Higher Education Quality Committee Ensures that the level and quality of provision is suitable for Higher Education
1- 4 UMALUSI Ensures that the level and quality of provision is suitable for Further and General Education
All levels THETA: Tourism, Hospitality and Sport Education and Training Authority With HEQC and UMALUSI, THETA quality assures all courses falling into their scope: Tourism, Hospitality, Conservation, Sport, gambling and Lotteries

If the institution is indeed accredited, it will have undergone an accreditation process during which its facilities, learning materials, courses and lecturers will have been evaluated on their ability to deliver appropriate training for the courses offered.

Even once you have established the institution’s accreditation status, consider the following points to ensure that the full-time course you have selected provides the type and quality of training you want:

Does the course give graduates a certificate from a recognised authority, in this case THETA, and is the qualification registered on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF)? If it does and is, you can rest assured that the qualification is legitimate and recognised, and will provide employable skills.

  • Does the training provider help you to find a job when you have finished the course?
  • How many past students have found jobs – chat to them about the course;
  • Who delivers the practical and theoretical components of the course and are they suitably qualified and experienced?
  • Do the lecturers have industry experience and knowledge as well as a teaching background?
  • ask managers of establishments what courses they recommend or approve, or what they look for when hiring someone;
  • What is the duration of the course? Comprehensive training cannot take place over a few weeks. An absolute minimum to acquire professional skills is at least a year.
  • Check the cost and find out exactly what it covers.

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Is Tourism for Me?

TAKE A TOURISM CAREER QUIZ

If you’re not sure about the type of job you’d be suited for, or whether or not Tourism could be right for you, take our tourism career quizzes.

  • Is Tourism for Me?
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  • Tourism: What is it Really Like?
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Exam Tips

How to succeed in Exams


  1. Study the timetable and start to plan well ahead of time. There are sometimes two exams on one day so you will have to be super alert.
  2. Count how many days are available until your first exam. Start today and work every day. Set targets for achievement.
  3. Do not miss one day of school between now and your exams. Keep healthy and alert. Listen to your teachers – they have done this before and will help you to succeed.
  4. Reading is a skill that will change your life. Read anything you can get your hands on and practice reading quickly and accurately.
  5. Writing is power, but it requires practice. Write at least 400 words everyday – carefully, accurately and beautifully.
  6. Textbooks are an essential student companion. Make sure you have a textbook for each subject and that you work through them systematically.
  7. Exercise and eat healthily throughout the year, and maintain a good Body Mass Index (BMI)
  8. Academic work requires concentration and focus. Turn off iPods, radios, TVs, and cellphones and have an intensive academic workout every day. Build your brain cells and be the envy of all your friends.
  9. Good vibes are good for success. Surround yourself with positive, happy people who want you to succeed. Your family and friends will be important in supporting you before and during your exams. Be grateful for their support.
  10. Success requires planning and hard work. Start planning and working today. Attend school and do your homework everyday. Read, write and calculate every day. Stick to your plan!

Some General Tips


  1. Get a good night’s sleep before the exam
  2. Write your name and correct exam number on the exam booklet as well as on any loose sheets of paper that you will be handing in.
  3. Show your workings for all calculations
  4. Obey the exam rules
  5. Read the instructions carefully and make sure you understand them.
  6. Read the questions carefully and make sure you know exactly what is being asked of you before attempting to answer.
  7. Bring more than one pen to the exam room, as well as any other stationary you made need.
  8. Listen carefully when announcements are made during the examination, they could be very important and could affect the paper you are writing.