Whether you are applying to a TVET, College or university degree, each academic qualification in South Africa is measured according to an N-Level. There are 10 N-Levels that one can acquire, starting in Grade 9 (N1) right through to PhD (10). By the time one has reached Matric they would have done up to N4, whilst early leavers from Grade 10 to vocational schools begin at N2 — with a certificate of completion awarded at the end of each year.

There are up to six different National Accredited Technical Education Diplomas (NATED) offered at TVET colleges in South Africa. Here’s a breakdown of the six, and what qualifications they offer.

A NATED qualification is nationally recognised by employers and higher education institutions and offers the practical skills and the theory needed to go into the job market as a skilled workers.

For example, completing a NATED programme in Beauty Therapy at Damelin means you will gain the technical theory of the course, as well as do the practical skills required as a beauty therapist. This will make you a qualified skilled worker who can work at nail bars such as Sorbet or Soho.

Each N- Level takes 3 to 6 months, depending on the programme. To get the National Diploma, you will have to complete 18 to 24 months required work experience, and/or coursework.

The NATED programmes are split into 2 levels

The N1 to N3 programmes are very limited and mostly focus on careers such as:

  • Engineering

  • Manufacturing

  • Construction,

  • And other artisan course

The N4 to N6 programmes offer a wider range of programmes that include:

  • Art and Design

  • Business Management

  • Clothing Production

  • Hospitality and Catering Services

  • Human Resource Management

  • Interior Decorating

  • Legal Secretary

  • Management Assistant

  • Marketing Management

  • Medical Secretary

What qualification will you gain?

  • If you complete your N3 plus 2 languages, you will have the equivalent to a Matric certificate at NQF Level 4

  • If you complete your N5, you will have a National N Certificate, without the 18 months work experience in the workplace

  • If you complete your N6 plus 18 months work experience, you will have a National Diploma

What are the admission requirements?

  • You need a Grade 9 to enter at N1 depending on the college, some programmes also require specific subjects

  • You need a Grade 12 to enter at N4.

Once you have completed your course, you will be able to apply for work or go on to study further at a higher education institution. With a National Diploma, you can also enrol to complete a Bachelor’s Degree at any university, depending on your marks.