Administration assistants are the indispensable and capable all-rounders that makes the business tick.

In a recent book called Linchpin, Seth Godin asks the aspirational reader one simple question – Are you indispensable? In many jobs this answer is often ‘No’ but not when it comes to the role of the admin assistant.

This is one of the most versatile and the most relied-upon roles in most companies.

As an admin assistant, you are the linchpin of the business, the person who holds all the threads and who ensures that everything gets done properly, by the right people, at the right time. It’s a challenging, interesting and dynamic job that puts you on the business front line.

The role of admin assistant can vary dependent on the type of company you work for, the size of the company, the expectations of the person who hired you, and your own personal preferences.

This is reflected in the huge variety of different admin assistant training courses that are available in South Africa. You can choose from courses that will teach you about maths and accounting, or you can choose from courses that will teach you about marketing and business administration. Or you can pick a course that ticks all those boxes because you want a job that will challenge every part of your brain.

This is what makes the admin assistant career path so interesting. One minute you could be elbow deep in numbers, sorting out some basic bookkeeping, and the next you could be working with marketing and public relations to ensure that the company has the right profile in the right markets.

Because the admin assistant role is so challenging and diverse, it’s also in very high demand. According to recent Career Junction research, published in November 2019, admin assistants are in very high demand right now.

As an admin assistant, the following talents and skills will really stand you in good stead:

  • An understanding of technology – because you will be working with computers all day, every day, you will need to basic skills. You can learn these as you train but it’s a good idea to start building your skills in Microsoft Office software from the outset.
  • Communication skills – a calm and patient nature is a definite prerequisite for this role. You’ll be dealing with people all day and you will often be the first person a visitor sees when they walk in the door.
  • Organisational skills – time and life management skills are critical, not just for yourself but the people you manage. You need to have a good eye for detail, schedules, calendars and filing systems to stay on top of all the different parts of your job.

The average salary for an admin assistant is around R97k per year, according to PayScale.


Boost your skills while at school

A matric pass is not always essential if you want to become an admin assistant. Not all courses expect you to have Grade 12 in order to get started, but it’s a really good idea to finish matric as it gives you an edge when you start studying.

While you’re at school considering boosting your skills using the free Vodacom e-school portal or Top Dog. Both platforms provide you with free extra lessons in specific subjects, helping you to really expand your knowledge and address problem areas. If you’d like to use these platforms to prepare for the role of admin assistant, consider using it to brush up on your English and other languages, maths, computing, accounting, and life sciences.

Vodacom e-school does ask you to register first but the process is as simple as entering your name, a password of your choosing, and the one-time-pin that they send you. Then select your grade (you can change this at any time) and start learning. Read our comprehensive breakdown of the accountancy profession below to find out which role best suits you and your career aspirations and to help you choose the right subjects at school.


How to train to become an admin assistant

There are several different roads you can take to achieve your goal of becoming an admin assistant. The road you take will depend on your situation, your education, and the type of admin assistant you’d like to be. The list below will take you through the different institutions and how they approach the course and the career. This will help you to find the course that best suits your needs.

Education institution options for an admin assistant: