Avoid the bottle neck effect

Avoid the bottle neck effect

Just like some wines every now and again there is a bad year that people avoid…

Before reading this article, remember that there is always hope, and that we just must start thinking about the future differently. With that said, here is something to consider if you are a young individual embarking on the rest of your life. (or the parent of one)


It is not uncommon for employers to be weary of employing people that came from a specific academic year due to turbulences, disruptions, economic or political events and even riots associated with that year. At the beginning of the South African Lockdown we all hoped that it would at most last approximately two months which is absorbable in an academic year, but it has unfortunately not turned out that way. It would have been easier if all larger academic activities could be completely halted and continue in the new year, but that is a different task altogether. Most private institutions including the Irene School of Garden Design carefully planned, and substituted their year with distance learning options and online courses, which will not affect the quality of the outcome of their students, but what will it mean for the future of matriculants amongst others? It will most likely create a bottle neck effect for entries into universities, and a drop in educational quality for matriculants, third year tertiary students and those completing either an honour or masters degree. It is unfortunate, but these three groups might forever be known as the group of 2020, 2023 (typically after 3 years of study) and 2025 (typically after 5 years of study).

Benefit from a gap year

bottleneck-3This is why many young individuals might benefit from a gap year next year after matric or a 3 year university degree to educate themselves in relating or other fields and get a head start on their studies by removing themselves from the stigma surrounding the class of 2020. Future employers will most likely not be too concerned with the current grade 11, or second year students, and it is this saving grace that can help a young individual to be associated with a different educational group. At the Irene School we have already seen some international enquiries and local thought patterns surrounding the bottle neck effect. Enquiries of concerned parents that worry about the academic year spilling over into 2021, late result on matric exams, and future employability due to this years’ unfortunate events are increasing. It seems to be a conversation public education would rather avoid, or maybe have not considered yet?

Not only aimed at Garden Designers

No one can guarantee or predict that this will be the exact outcome of events, but it remains wise to plan a meaningful intermediate year for young individuals. As things are looking now, a year of intermediate study, or humanitarian work might be the only option as even travel or experiencing the world while working might be prohibited until approximately mid-2022. We therefore urge parents and students to start planning their approach to this difficult situation early enough, so as not to be disappointed. Most institutions will also have a correspondence option which can be a great alternative.  The courses at Irene School of Garden Design for example addresses a variety of fields and can benefit anyone that wants to further study careers in the design, engineering, phycology, or environmental career paths. It is not only aimed at Garden Designers. However  you approach your career from now, whether you take on an intermediate 1 or 2 year study program, or even if you just learn some long forgotten life skills, remember, often a small decision now can make an enormous difference later.


Abraham Lincoln said: “If I had 8 hours to cut down a tree, I will spend 6 hours sharpening my axe”

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