Supporting TVET college students to access on-course Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) is an effective way to tie classroom theory to industry practice, helping students better see the relevance of what they are learning, while also supporting them to make industry connections that assist their eventual job search efforts. One of High Gear’s six technical assistance interventions is to support TVET students to access WIL during their academic studies, including by partnering with our national industry association partner (NAACAM) to secure employers that are willing to open their workplaces to TVET students.

While this model has worked in Eastern Cape through IYF, it has proved more difficult in KwaZulu-Natal, partially due to employers’ insurance coverage requirements for TVET students, which IYF’s TVET partner college is not currently able to satisfy due to competing commitments (an understandable issue given the difficult resource allocation decisions that TVET colleges need to make). Although IYF has willing employers, this important and necessary administrative issue has delayed this High Gear technical component in the province.

IYF, working with our industry partner NAACAM and our TVET partner, was able to mitigate this challenge during the quarter by launching a partnership with a private training provider, TechnoTrain. A Durban-based provider—which has its own insurance coverage for enrolled trainees—has proved to be an excellent partner to IYF and partner TVET college, allowing the initiative to provide recent TVET engineering graduates with simulated work-based placements and practical exposure to processes and tools that are required on manufacturing production lines. TechnoTrain is currently exploring whether they can source host employers for IYF’s enrolees, which TechnoTrain would facilitate and utilize their existing insurance coverage to satisfy employer requirements.

IYF has developed the partnership, in which 58 electrical and mechanical engineering TVET graduates completed ten days of work-exposure training and received a certificate indicating the value of their training. Based on the positive responses from the students, our partner TVET college, and TechnoTrain, IYF plan to greatly expand this partnership over the coming quarters. As part of IYF’s approach to maximise opportunity and synergies through High Gear, IYF further invited two students to participate in the recent ‘Women in Manufacturing’ learning series, with the two aspiring female engineer case studies available to read here and here. Both graduates—along with all the other students participating in the workplace exposure at TechnoTrain—also attended a CV and LinkedIn optimisation workshop organised by High Gear.