Not everyone who finished matric last year will be going to varsity. In fact, just 17% of last year's applicants got a place in major Mzansi universities.

Iman Latief from Irvine Partners said however that if your choice of university was taken away from you, it didn't mean your life's over.

"There are many other options to get a decent education and proper employment. You might have no idea what step to take next, or what job you would find interesting and fulfilling. Luckily, the internet has resources to help you make that decision.

"Educate24's online profiler tool is a simple assessment that will tell you which career path best suits your preferences," she said.

Once you know what you're interested in, you can take the next step with confidence.

Gain experience

You may be working for free or for very little money at first, but a few months gaining meaningful experience can give you what you need to get a foot in the door. Just be careful to set boundaries and don't let anyone take advantage of your time and eagerness to learn.

Study online in your free time

Learning doesn't have to cost tens of thousands of rands.

"There are many online education platforms that offer free or affordable certified courses that you can add to your CV.

Don't feel lost if you are unable to get into the varsity you want.

"Educate24's business management, retail service and hospitality courses could make all the difference when applying for your first job," she said.

Don't give up

Getting your dream job isn't easy and may take time not to mention a lot of hard work.

"While searching, be sure not to become disheartened. Treat every interview you do as a learning experience. And in the meantime, you can be using your free to time to gain new skills for your CV!" she said.

Explore opportunities

"Neil Robinson, CEO of solutions based social enterprise Relate Bracelets, said there are so many 'lost ones' in South Africa - people who manage to pass matric, and then hit a brick wall," he said.

Latief encouraged people to make use of opportunities from corporations and the government that come as learnership programmes and internships.

This article was first published by Daily Sun (Cape) on 03 February 2017.