“Learning is the only thing the mind never exhausts, never fears, and never regrets.” – Leonardo da Vinci.
What is a learnership program?
- A learnership is a work-based learning programme that leads to an NQF-registered qualification.
- An NQF level 4 equals a grade 12 certificate.
- Learnership programmes are directly related to an occupation or field of work, for example, electrical engineering, hairdressing or project management.
- Learnership programmes can help you gain the necessary skills and workplace experience to open up better employment or self-employment opportunities.
- The QCTO manages learnership programmes in South Africa.
What is the QCTO?
The Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) was established in 2010 in terms of the Skills Development Act Nr. 97 of 1998. Its role is to oversee the design, implementation, assessment and certification of occupational qualifications, including trades, on the Occupational Qualifications Sub-Framework (OQSF)
To see which courses are on offer through QCTO – check out their website:
How can a learnership program help you?
- Learnerships promote access to education and training, allowing you to work and start your career while also studying for an educational qualification.
- QCTO ensure that they offer qualifications related to a specific occupation or sector of the economy.
- NQF-aligned programmes help you gain recognised qualifications while getting on-the-job experience.
- QCTO manages the registration of learnership programmes to meet the skills development needs across the sectors.
Learnership aim to address the following:
• to increase employment by producing skilled workers;
• to provide access to education, training, and employment opportunities to more people, especially school dropouts.
• to give people who live in smaller towns the prospect to study
• To help alleviate the skills shortages in South Africa.
How does a learnership program work?
Learnerships require you to complete a theoretical course and practical training, which is done at a workplace, to graduate.
The workplace component of the qualification involves hands-on, practical learning under the guidance of a mentor, while the theoretical part is provided by an education and training provider. Together they form an integrated and comprehensive learning programme.
Top Tip: The number of credits needed to graduate varies from learnership to learnership, so make sure you understand the minimum requirements to complete a learnership. Find out from the relevant QCTO.
Who are the parties involved in a learnership?
Three parties are involved in a learnership:
- The learner,
- the employer (offering the practical training component in their business) and
- the education and training provider (offering the theoretical part of the learnership).
Who is eligible for a learnership?
Learnerships are available for young people who have completed school, college or learning at other training institutions.
You must be older than 16 and younger than 35 to be eligible for a learnership.
Unemployed South Africans can only participate in a learnership if an employer is prepared to provide the required work experience.
A learnership depends on a contract that legally binds the learner, the employer, and the education and training provider. This contract requires the learner to be employed by the employer only for the duration of the learnership. Once the learnership has been completed, the employer can decide whether to continue using the learner.
How to participate in a learnership?
By now, you have already put some thought into your career path, and as a result, you will be able to identify a learnership that will support your career goals. Your interests, skills and strengths should influence your career path. The responsibility rests with you to investigate and research the different learnership options. You should find out as much as possible, including information on the criteria and requirements for entering a learnership.
What are the entry requirements?
Different learnership programmes have specific entry requirements. We recommend contacting the provider of the learnership for full details on the particular requirements for the learnership of your choice.
For many learnership programmes, the minimum entry requirement is a National Senior Certificate or National Certificate: Vocational. Still, there may be more specific subject or skill requirements, such as computer literacy.
What are the benefits for learners?
• You may have better employment opportunities after completing a learnership;
• You have a fixed-term employment contract for the duration of the learnership;
• Learnerships improve job performance so you can do things relevant to the job;
• You obtain a nationally-recognised qualification that is relevant to the sector; and
• You earn a learner allowance for the duration of the learnership.
How much does a learnership cost?
A relevant QCTO generally funds learnership programmes. Since the cost of learnership programmes varies across QCTOs and types/levels of qualifications, you should contact the relevant QCTO for more information.
Will the learner be paid?
A specified minimum learner allowance must be paid to unemployed learners in a learnership. It is not a salary but covers expenses like travel and meals. Again, you should contact the relevant QCTO for more information.
How long does it take to complete a learnership?
Learnerships will last as long as it takes to complete the qualification. So, for example, if the qualification duration is two years, then the learnership will last for that period.
What does a learner receive on completion?
During the learnership, learners must complete assignments, tasks, practical tests, and projects. In addition, they will be formally assessed in the classroom and workplace.
If all these assignments are completed successfully, they will be awarded an NQF-registered qualification recognised nationally. In addition, they will receive a certificate stating the qualification and the area of skill development.
What is required to enter into a learnership?
If you are accepted, you will need to sign two legal documents:
1. Learnership Agreement: this is an agreement signed by you, the organisation employing you, and the education and provider offering the theoretical training component of the learnership. This agreement clearly outlines the rights and responsibilities of all three parties.
2. Employment contract: this is a contract you will sign with the employer, which is only valid for the period of the learnership.
Will I get a job after completing the learnership?
Once you have completed your learnership, you will be in a much better position to market yourself, as you will now have both work experience and theoretical training. You may also be in a better place to start your own business and generate an income that way.
Can a learnership be terminated?
Yes, a learnership can be terminated under certain circumstances.
An employer can terminate the contract of a learnership if:
• The duration specified in the learnership agreement has expired;
• The employer and learner have agreed in writing to terminate the learnership agreement, or if there is no such agreement, the SETA that registered the agreement approves the termination; or
• The learner is fairly dismissed for a reason related to the learner’s conduct or capacity.
Learnerships – SAQA. https://www.saqa.org.za/docs/webcontent/2014/web0331a.html
Mandate – QCTO. https://www.qcto.org.za/mandate.html
What is a Learnership | CPD Academy. https://cpda.co.za/what-is-a-learnership/