‘After I finished my Matric in 2013, I stayed at home for two years, as I could not afford to go to University… I almost gave up.’
Finishing school with no route into further education or employment, Yelulani’s story is a common one for many young people in South Africa today. However Yelulani was able to turn his life around after he found out about an opportunity that seemed too good to be true — a fully funded learnership to study Automotive Repair & Maintenance (NQF 2) at Sparrow FET College. The bright young Automotive Repair and Maintenance student completed his programme in June 2016 and we were delighted to catch up with Yelulani to see how he was getting on…
Yelulani has been accepted by Ford & Mazda in Germiston into their comprehensive four-year apprenticeship program. This is a fantastic opportunity to continue learning about automotive repairs and mechanics. His job includes checking different car’s brakes to make sure they are safe, and replacing parts that cannot be fixed.
So how does a young person go from staying at home for two years, to landing an opportunity to fix cars at Ford & Mazda?
After passing the entrance exams at Sparrow FET, Yelulani started Automotive Repair and Maintenance programme in July 2015. The course was split into two sections:
- Lectures and theory at the FET College in Sophiatown.
According to Yelulani:
Mr Errol taught me a lot! He was passionate about what he was teaching but he also believed in us and pushed us to go beyond what we thought we could do.
- 6 month work experience, where Yelulani gained practical experience at Mercedes Benz M2 Cargo.
When Yelulani started his work experience placement, the company was surprised by how much he knew:
They expected to teach me, but I already knew from my education at Sparrow FET; they told me ‘we need more people like you who are trained already’.
The Sparrow FET College does not just teach students about their programme, but also prepares young adults for the working environment:
They taught us about discipline, which was important, as many of us had not worked or studied for several years. This included the importance of arriving early, not being absent and how to behave in the workplace.
Yelulani has moved out of his family home in Pretoria; enjoying his independence and living on his own with the money he earns. He hopes to stay on at Ford after his apprenticeship has finished, and he will visit Sparrow soon with his younger brother who will be finishing school at the end of this year.
What advice would you give to someone who has just got their Matric results and does not know what to do?
I wanted to go to University but I had no money… At college I gained more practical experience than some of the Universities I was looking at, which has helped me get onto the apprenticeship. Wearing the gown on my graduation was such a dream come true and I thank Sparrow for the opportunity to turn my life around.