Program Director (Chief of Party)

Program Director (Chief of Party), High Gear 

Gauteng Province, South Africa
This is a local hire position. Applicants must be a South African citizen or permanent resident.
This position is a remote-based one with access to office space intermittently.

IYF South Africa Country Director


  1. High Gear Program Manager (KZN)
  2. High Gear Program Manager (Eastern Cape)
  3. High Gear Program Manager (Risk & Planning)
  4. TVET Curriculum Enhancement Manager

For 30 years, the International Youth Foundation (IYF) has coordinated and sustained actions that harness the talent and potential of the world’s young people. At the heart of our efforts is building partnerships, initiatives, and curricula that prepare young people to succeed as citizens and employees.

In South Africa, IYF partners to strengthen education and training systems—including public TVET colleges and employer-led learnerships for unemployed youth—so that they better equip young people to access and expand economic opportunity. We work with national government and TVET leaders to align courses with industry needs; we equip employers to deliver more impactful life skills training within their learnerships; and we create mutually beneficial partnerships between industry and education systems that improve young people’s lives while also delivering measurable business benefits.

IYF’s work in South Africa is always exciting, ever-evolving, and informed by the needs of key stakeholders: the Department of Higher Education & Training (DHET), national industry groups, individual employers, and young people. It is not without challenges, but the payoff is worth it. Our programming is supported by a growing number of government, corporate, and foundation donors, including USAID, FCDO, Embassy of Ireland, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, De Beers, and Google. 


Be at the Forefront of a High-Profile Public-Private Partnership

IYF South Africa leads implementation of High Gear, an innovative partnership with the National Association of Automotive Component and Allied Manufacturers (NAACAM) and the Department of Higher Education & Training (DHET) that is harnessing the knowledge and skills imperatives of South Africa’s automotive manufacturing sector—along with IYF curricula enhancement tools—to strengthen the quality of select public TVET college courses. IYF is searching Program Director (Chief of Party), who will play a pivotal role in leading this high-profile initiative.

The Program Director (Chief of Party) will provide strategic guidance, leadership, donor representation, and overall technical and operational oversight of High Gear, which is an innovative four-year partnership with the National Association of Automotive Component and Allied Manufacturers (NAACAM) that will harness the knowledge and skills imperatives of this vital economic sector—along with IYF curricula enhancement tools—to strengthen the quality of select public TVET college courses. Ultimately, High Gear aims to demonstrate a model for greater industry involvement in TVET course design and delivery that generates enthusiasm from TVET educators and industry, while also generating positive returns for young people and employers. 



  • Defines and overseas the High Gear project strategy, consistent with the organization’s strategy and mission, and aligned with High Gear donor awards.
  • Makes strategic decisions regarding High Gear partnerships in South Africa, including with national and provincial sub-awardees, in full compliance with donor rules and regulations, and with IYF policies.


  • Makes key decisions related to the High Gear project from a holistic perspective on behalf of the IYF South Africa and IYF Baltimore offices.


  • Provides leadership to the High Gear project, ensuring its delivery is consistent with IYF’s global mission and strategy, and with High Gear donor awards.
  • Oversees annual implementation planning, consistent with project goals and objectives.
  • Ensures High Gear programmatic and operations structure is consistent with achieving its goals and annual objectives.
  • Demonstrates high-level skills in project management, as well as expert knowledge of TVET system strengthening and industry partnership approaches necessary to deliver on the aims of the initiative.
  • Champions organization’s policies and procedures, and ensures supervisees understand and follow them.


  • Supervises staff at multiple levels and ensures that the High Gear project team (both direct and indirect reports) are working as a cohesive team.
  • Guides and supports the High Gear team to ensure fiscal integrity, quality, and timing of deliverables.


  • Maintain an in-depth and detailed working knowledge of High Gear’s internal cross-donor working budget, along with a detailed working knowledge of award-specific budgets.
  • Regularly work with finance colleagues and project staff on budget development, reviews, and re-alignments.

Representation (External/Internal)

  • Provides leadership in designing and implementing the High Gear communication strategy and ensures compliance with donor branding and marking plans.
  • Represents the organization externally to high level and senior stakeholder representatives and serves as the primary High Gear contact with the UK Skills for Prosperity Fund, USAID, and MSDF, as well as with NAACAM.
  • Builds and maintains relationships with other public sector, private sector, civil society, and donor stakeholders.


  • Oversee and substantively contribute towards the finalizations of high-quality quarterly and annual performance reports to High Gear funders, along with other requested submissions (e.g. FCDO’s Value for Money reporting). 
  • Ensure reports accurately and strategically articulate the program's qualitative and quantitative successes in meeting deliverables, along with IYF's plan for addressing challenges encountered.
  • Ensure reports follow a narrative format that aligns with the High Gear workplan and use clear and concise language that promotes readability for donors.
  • Other duties as assigned (outside of CORE Responsibilities)

Minimum requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree in Skills Development, Social Science or related field.
  • At least years senior management experience in programs of similar or greater scope and complexity, with prior leadership roles in USAID and/or FCDO-funded programming.
  • Strong proficiency with USAID and/or FCDO performance monitoring and reporting standards (including Theories of Change, logframes, results-based work plans, reporting, and evaluations)  
  • Demonstrated excellence in project budget management under Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) awards. Must have strong Excel skills.
  • Clear and concise writing skills are a must. Extensive experience leading high-quality performance reporting under USAID and/or FCDO-funded awards.  


  • Demonstrated success in collaborating with government and industry to shift systems in ways that advance economic empowerment and/or transformation in South Africa. 

  • Experience leading programs focused on TVET systems strengthening, youth services, workforce development, or livelihoods/employability, strongly preferred.

  • In-depth knowledge of South Africa’s skills development policy and institutional ecosystem, including the role of the Department of Higher Education & Training (DHET), Sector Education Training Authorities (SETAs), the Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) policy, strongly preferred.  

  • Relevant Undergraduate degree (e.g. Education, Social Sciences, Commerce, Engineering)

  • Strong MS Office 365 skills, with working knowledge of OneNote and SharePoint a plus. Strong PowerPoint skills are an added advantage. 

Adaptive Management

  • Demonstrated ability to integrate, lead, and motivate teams of professionals around common goals.

  • Demonstrated commitment to South Africa’s transformation imperatives, including in enabling diversity, equity and inclusion in team management and mentoring; supplier selection; and in programmatic approaches. 

  • Demonstrated ability to find viable solutions to complicated problems in a flexible, time-sensitive and creative manner.

  • Willingness to leverage social media platforms, particularly LinkedIn, to advance High Gear’s communications strategy. 

Other Highly-Valued Skills

  • Systems thinking, with flexibility and creativity in project planning and problem-solving, while remaining focused on the big picture.

  • Ability to lead and communicate effectively with team members of varied work styles, professional backgrounds, and cultures.

  • Proven ability to learn quickly, multi-task, prioritize, take initiative, and be accountable for results.

  • A commitment to teamwork.

  • A balance of confidence, humility, and empathy.

  • Commitment to IYF’s mission.

Please send your CV and a cover letter to [email protected]. Only applicants without work restrictions in South Africa should apply.

IYF is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We are strengthened by the diversity of our colleagues. We welcome applications from people of all cultures, experiences, backgrounds, and perspectives.