Learnership Management System


Many people are not quite sure what a learnership is and if it is a good option for them. This brochure explains what learnerships are, how they work and what their benefits are.

What is a learnership?

A learnership is a work-based learning programme that leads to an NQF registered qualification. Learnerships are directly related to an occupation or field of work, for example, electrical engineering, hairdressing or project management.

Learnerships are managed by Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs). They were introduced by government to help skill learners and to prepare them for the workplace.

Learnership programmes can help you to gain the necessary skills and workplace experience that will open up better employment or self-employment opportunities.

Why are learnerships important?

Learnerships promote access to education and training, as they allow you to work and get started on your career while also studying for an educational qualification.

SETAs oversee learnerships and ensure that they offer qualifications related to a specific occupation or sector of the economy. All 21 SETAs have developed NQF-aligned programmes that will help you gain recognised qualifications while getting on-the-job experience.

SETAs manage the registration of learnerships in order to meet the skills development needs across the sectors.

Why were learnerships created?

The government was looking for ways to transform skills development in South Africa. In the past, education and training and workplace experience did not always provide a direct link between theory and practice.

To address this, the Skills Development Act and the Skills Levies Act were passed by Parliament, and structures and processes to transform skills development in South Africa were put in place.

The primary aim of learnerships is to address the gap between the current education and training provided and the needs of the labour market. In fact, learnerships are seen as central to skills upliftment in South Africa.

Learnership aim to address the following challenges:

  • Decreasing employment;
  • Unequal access to education and training, and employment opportunities;
  • The effects of race, gender and geographical location on educational advancement; and
  • The skills shortages in South Africa.

How do learnerships work?

Learnerships require you to complete a theoretical course as well as practical training, which are done at a workplace, in order to graduate. The workplace component of the qualification involves hands-on, practical learning under the guidance of a mentor, while the theoretical component 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 that you understand the minimum requirements if you want to complete a learnership. Find out from the relevant SETA.

Who are the parties involved in a learnership?

There are three parties 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 component 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 there is an employer prepared to provide the required work experience.

In fact, a learnership is dependent on a contract which 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 on whether to continue to employ the learner or not.

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 career path should be influenced by your interests, skills and strengths. The responsibility rests with you to investigate and research the different learnership options. You should find out as much as you can, including information on the criteria and requirements for entering a learnership.

What are the entry requirements?

Different learnerships have different entry requirements. We recommend that you contact the provider of the learnership for full details on the specific requirements for the learnership of your choice.
For many learnerships, the minimum entry requirement is a National Senior Certificate or National Certificate: Vocational, but there may be more specific subject requirements or even skills 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 on the job performance so you are able to 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 learnershipcost?

Learnerships are generally funded by a relevant SETA.Sincethe cost of learnerships varies across SETAs and types/levelsof qualifications, you should contact the relevant SETA formore information.

Will the learner be paid?

There is a specified minimum learner allowance that mustbe paid to unemployed learners in a learnership. This is not asalary but covers expenses like travel and meals. Again, youshould contact the relevant SETA for more information.

How long does it take to completea learnership?

Learnerships will last as long as it takes to complete thequalification.This means that if the duration of the qualificationis two years, then the learnership will last for that period oftime.

What does a learner receive oncompletion?

During the learnership, learners will be required to complete assignments, tasks and practical tests and projects.They willbe formally assessed in the classroom and workplace.

If all these assignments are completed successfully, they willbe awarded an NQF-registered qualification, which is recognise dnationally.They will receive a certificate stating the qualificatio nand the area of skill development.

What is required to enter into alearnership?

If you are accepted you will need to sign two legal documents:

1. Learnership Agreement: this is an agreement signed byyou, the organisation employing you, and the education andprovider 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 withthe employer, which is only valid for the time period of thelearnership.

Will I get a job after completingthe learnership?

Once you have successfully completed your learnership, youwill be in a much better position to market yourself as you willnow have both work experience and theoretical training.Youmay also be in a better position to start your own business andgenerate an income that way.

Can a learnership be terminated?

Yes, a learnership can be terminated under certaincircumstances.

An employer can terminate the contract of a learnership if:

  • The duration specified in the learnership agreement hasexpired;
  • The employer and learner have agreed in writing toterminate the learnership agreement, or if there is nosuch agreement, the SETA that registered the agreementapproves the termination; or
  • The learner is fairly dismissed for a reason related to thelearner`s conduct or capacity as an employee.