High Gear – an initiative to strengthen the market relevance of the Technical, Vocational, Education and Training (TVET) college system by enabling greater industry involvement in course design and delivery has successfully launched its online career experience platform for TVET students – Yakh’iFuture (www.yakhifuture.org.za).

Yakh’iFuture meaning ‘build your future,’ is an interactive online platform designed to provide career insight, skills-building opportunities, and linkages to job search platforms to students, graduates, and other young people interested in South Africa’s growing automotive component manufacturing industry..

The Yakh’iFuture website launched on 31 March 2022 and is specifically designed for TVET students as a complement to courses and student support services offered through TVET colleges.

The platform was designed through a collaboration between IYF, the National Association of Automotive Component and Allied Manufacturers (NAACAM), and the Department of Higher Education & Training (DHET). NAACAM will own and manage the platform in the long-term, setting a new international benchmark for online career services delivered by an industry association to young people.

“We are hoping that the Yakh’iFuture website can serve as a model for other industry associations to develop similar career guidance resources for TVET students,” says High Gear Programme Director Colin Hagans.

“Yakh’iFuture will be an ever-evolving online career experience platform that equips, inspires and connects young people to the automotive components manufacturing sector. It will enable students and graduates to complement their studies, access work opportunities, network with potential employers and work with confidence once they reach the workplace,” adds Vuyiswa Mkhabela, Project Manager at NAACAM.

The resource showcases various roles in the automotive component manufacturing industry, from entry level to senior roles, as well as illustrating career pathways and key competencies required for each path. Students and other young people are also able to develop and practise gamified competencies to stay sharp and bring their studies to practical life while they engage in a job search journey. The platform also includes interactive, digital versions of key electrical engineering and mechanical engineering tools and concepts to assist TVET students in their studies, with many more digital engineering tools launching between May and October this year.

To assist TVET students and graduates in their job search efforts, users can post questions to potential employers, which NAACAM will curate and respond to. In addition, the site links to the Office of the Presidency’s SAyouth.mobi platform where users can search for entry-level job opportunities, and NAACAM is actively working with its membership base to encourage them to leverage SAYouth.mobi for recruitment of their entry-level job, learnership, and apprenticeship opportunities. In turn, SAYouth.mobi will regularly highlight Yakh’iFuture as a learning opportunity on its site, so that more young people (and not just TVET students) benefit from its career resources.

“Yakh’iFuture is a multidimensional career experience platform that will allow young people to make confident choices and inspire them to carve a career pathway in the industry. The resource will include learning and discovery of related concepts, digitised engineering demonstration kits that bring engineering theory to life, video case studies of inspirational career stories, career roles and frequently asked questions that are designed to give young people every chance of success in a finding job” says Mkhabela.

“It will also increase accessibility to tools and resources for TVET lecturers and student support service officers, so that students have a better understanding of career paths, job roles and responsibilities to build work readiness. For employers, increased visibility of students and the ability to connect directly with them will further align skills and career development. By having employers upload current information and learning resources, students will remain career-ready even as the industry evolves,” she adds.