This week on Khetha #Week22

Topic of the week: Role of SETAs, Apprenticeships and Learnerships programmes

Programme date: 22 – 26 May 2017

Script Notes:

  • The programme is entitled ‘Role of SETAs, Apprenticeships and Learnerships programmes.
  • This script will be translated to other official languages and broadcast on 10 PBS radio stations.
  • The programme is characterised by the radio presenter and a guest from the Department of Higher Education and Training.
  • The radio presenter is the main anchor of the programme and he/she will control the activities on the programme.

The objectives of this programme are to:

  • Explain the role of Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETA’s).
  • Explain Learnership and Apprenticeship programmes.
  • Inform listeners how learnerships and apprenticeships work.
  • Get individuals excited about opportunities within the different sectors.

The entire programme runs for 30 minutes; which includes PSAs.

Opening Billboard: ‘This programme is brought to you by the Department of Higher Education and Training in partnership with SABC Education’

Programme Introduction

Presenter: Good day and a warm welcome to all our listeners. It is time for another exciting episode of Khetha, brought to you by the Department of Higher Education and Training in partnership with SABC Education. Today we are talking about the role of Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs), Apprenticeships and Learnerships.

There are millions of people throughout South Africa who want and need to learn new skills. Some are learners who are still at school, out of school, in college and others are already employed but need to improve their skills and also learn new ones.

The overall unemployment rate in the country stands at 26.6% and about 42% of young people under the age of 30 are unemployed, compared to less than 17% of adults over the age of 30.

Unemployed young people tend to be less skilled and inexperienced; almost 86% do not have formal further or tertiary education, while two-thirds have never worked. Young people in employment gain the soft-skills – confidence, discipline, work ethic, accountability, and interpersonal skills – necessary to navigate the challenges of the modern job market. The overall determinants of the high levels of youth unemployment are:

  • a lack of skills for jobs required by the economy;
  • young job seekers believe the probability of finding a job is so low that they do not even look;
  • lack of work experience;
  • lack of job search capabilities and networks;
  • companies find it risky and costly to employ young people;
  • the rate of population growth among youth far exceeds the number of jobs created by the economy
  • And, in certain instances, the low levels of economic growth.

Although youths are understandably less economically active in the traditional sense at the onset of their eligibility to enter the labour force, employment in these formative years is nevertheless crucial for nurturing one’s career development. It is therefore important that our listeners join in this important conversation with us today as we discuss the important aspects of skills development in South Africa and how one can benefit in order to improve the prospect of finding and securing employment. We’re joined in the studio by our guest speaker from the Department, ******** who will tell us about role of SETAs, different opportunities and programmes, such as learnerships and apprenticeships in skills development and how you can access these opportunities. It’s good to have you on the show ********

Guest: Thank you******** and greetings to you and the listeners

Presenter: I have noticed in our previous shows that when we talk about skills development we always refer to SETAs. Please explain to us what is a SETA?

Guest: “SETA” stands for Sector Education and Training Authority. SETA’s were established in terms of the Skills Development Act, No 97 of 1998 within the National Skills Development Strategy (NSDS) framework. The mandate of SETAs to ensure that skills requirements for various sectors are identified and that appropriate skills are available across different sectors.

Presenter: What is the role of SETA in contributing to skills development in the country?

Guest: Their main function is to contribute to the raising of skills, to bring skills to the employed, or those wanting to be employed, in their sector. This is in response to indications from workplaces that particular skills are needed. This input from the workplace skills plans feed into the SETAs Sector Skills Plans. This data helps the SETAs to identify areas in which there is a national need, and areas that relate to scarce skills. They have to do this by ensuring that people learn skills that are needed by employers and communities. For instance SETAs coordinate and manage learnerships and skills programmes in their specific sectors.

SETAs identify suitable workplaces for practical training, support the development of learning materials and register agreements for learning programmes. Each SETA coordinates skills development functions within its particular sector. We have 21 SETAs, which help in allocating grants in the prescribed manner and in accordance with any prescribed standards and criteria to employers, education and training providers and workers. Such grants assist to promote and fund occupational/ skills development programs in their respective sectors. The SETAs are categorised in different sectors and made up of linked economic activities.

Presenter: please can you give us examples of these catergories?

Guest: there are sectors that deal with financial, social, services, manufacturing and resources sectors, which are categorised in this manner:

Financial Sector

Banking Sector (BankSeta)

Finance and Accounting Services SETA (Fasset)

Insurance sector education and training authority (INSETA)

Media, Information and Communication Technologies (MICTSETA)

Social Sector

Health and Welfare Sector Education and Training Authority (HWSETA)

Local Government Sector Education and Training Authority (LGSETA)

Safety and Security Sector Education & Training Authority (SASSETA)

Public Service Sector Education and Training Authority (PSETA)

Education, Training and Development Practices (ETDP SETA)

Services Sector

Services Sector Education and Training Authority (SERVICES SETA)

Wholesale and Retail Sector Education and Training Authority (W&R SETA)

Culture, Arts, Tourism, Hospitality and Sport Education and Training Authority (CATHSSETA)

Transport Education and Training Authority (TETA)

Manufacturing Sector

Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority (MERSETA)

Fibre Processing and Manufacturing Sector Education and Training Authority (FPMSETA)

Chemical Industries Education and Training Authority (CHIETA)

Food and Beverages Manufacturing Industry Sector Education and Training Authority (FOODBEV)

Resources Sector

Mining Qualifications Authority (MQA)

Construction Education and Training Authority (CETA)

Agriculture sector education and training Authority (AGRI SETA)

Energy and Water Sector Education and Training Authority (EWSETA)

Presenter: You have mentioned that SETAs promote and fund occupational / skills programmes. Which programmes are these and can you elaborate on them?

Guest: SETAs are involved in the development and management of apprenticeships and learnerships. We will start by explaining the apprenticeship programs.

Today's apprenticeships are keeping alive a knowledge of many crafts and skills that in other times were passed on largely by family tradition. Fathers taught their sons the crafts in generation after generation, and girls were trained by their mothers in household tasks – and it is here that the grandma secret recipe tradition emerged. Many years ago in some countries young people would work under a master craftsman to learn trades. This was a form of inexpensive work in exchange for learning. Today, arrangements around apprenticeships are much more formal.

An apprenticeship program combines on-the-job training with academic instruction for those entering the workforce. Also called dual-training programs because of the combined occupational and in-class components, apprenticeships help individuals put their academic skills to practical use in various careers. Someone who is new to the field (an apprentice), is trained by a qualified artisan who is an expert in the field. They share their skills and knowledge to help the apprentice become an expert too. An apprenticeship is also a learning experience. Apprenticeships include classroom lessons to make sure the apprentice masters all aspects of the job. An apprenticeship is a paid job.

It is important to know that an apprenticeship is dependent on a contract which legally involves three parties: the apprentice, the training provider or employer’s site for the classroom knowledge and the employer (offering the training in their trade).This contract requires the apprentice to be employed by the employer only for the duration of the apprenticeship. An apprentice taking part in an apprenticeship needs to work for an employer for a minimum period of three years as prescribed in the relevant condition of the contract.

Presenter: What are some of examples of apprenticeship programmes?

Guest: There are different apprenticeship programmes and are managed by the Seta’s. We will name a few because there are many apprenticeships. Apprenticeships exist within many trade disciplines which include:

The Construction Trades: where apprenticeships are offered to learners to become a Blacksmith, Welder, Boatbuilder/Shipbuilder, Joiner/Carpenter, Rigger, Spraypainter, Painter/Sign Writer, Sail Maker/Upholsterer.

Electrical Trades: learners can qualify to be an Electrician, Electrical Fitter or Armature Winder.

Mechanical Trades: apprenticeships are available to become a Marine Fitter, Refrigeration, Mechanical Fitter, and Armament Fitter.

Manufacturing Trades: apprenticeships are available to become Boilermaker or Pipe fitter.

Presenter: What are the requirements for Apprenticeships?

Guest: Apprentices entering apprenticeships should at least be 16 years of age. The minimum entry requirement for most apprenticeships is a National Senior Certificate, National Certificate Vocational (NCV) or Nated course (N2 - N4) in the specific trade. For instance; good marks in maths and science increase the chances of learners being selected to participate in science or engineering related programmes. That being said it is important to note that each sector has different entry requirements. So it is best to check the advert or enquire from the relevant SETA. The difference will be in terms of educational requirement, duration of the training and the modular tests.

Presenter: While a learner is doing the apprenticeship, what else is needed in order for the learner to be a recognised artisan?

Guest: That is a very important question. Please note that last week we spoke about the 7 steps of becoming an artisan. It is important to know that during an apprenticeship, modules and tests will be conducted as the programme progresses to assess the learner’s grasp of the skills being taught. An apprenticeship is based on the competency based modular training system, meaning that the apprentice must pass the relevant modular and phase test as well as a final trade test to be recognised as an artisan in his or her chosen trade. A trade test is therefore, a final external summative assessment included in the occupational qualification for a listed artisan trade. It is conducted by an assessor registered with the National Artisan Moderation Body (NAMB) at a trade test centre accredited by the SETA and the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO). Only when you have passed a trade test will you be recognised as a qualified Artisan; licenced Artisan.

Presenter: Could you tell us more about Learnership?

Guest: A learnership programme is a full-time training programme in a workplace situation. Learnerships are outcomes-based; thus if learners can demonstrate their competencies during assessment they receive a nationally recognised qualification or credits that is directly related to an occupation. The process of learnership programmes is such that learners gain theoretical knowledge while learning practical skills in their place of work which leads to a registered qualification on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). Learnership programmes can help you to gain the necessary skills and workplace experience that will open up better employment or self-employment opportunities. Learnerships also promote access to education and training, as they allow you to work and get started on your career while also studying for an academic qualification. A learner can also gain links with employment network increasing chances of finding work. Learners participating in a learnership HAVE TO ATTEND classes at an institution or training provider to complete classroom based learning, and they also have to complete on-the-job training in the workplace. The workplace experience MUST be relevant to the qualification.

Presenter: Who is eligible for a learnership?

Guests: Learnerships are available for young people who have completed school, college or learning at other training institutions. You must be 16 and younger than 35 years old to be eligible for a learnership. However, each learnership advertised will indicate the specific requirements to partake in the programme. In some cases employed staff of an employer can participate as employees need to broaden their skills.

Presenter: Who are the parties involved in a Learnership?

Guest: It is important to know that a learnership is dependent on a contract which legally involves the learner, the employer (offering the practical training component in their business); the education and training provider (offering the theoretical component of the learnership) and the SETA who has accredited that learnership. There are two legal documents that a learner needs to sign:

Learnership Agreement, which signed by the learner; the employer; training provider and the SETA. This contract requires the learner to be employed by the employer only for the duration of the learnership. Hence the Employment contract signed between the leaner and the employer and is only valid during the time of the learnership. Once the learnership has been completed, the employer can decide on whether to continue to employ the learner or not, however you get a recognised and registered certificate.

Presenter: You mentioned in the beginning that there are 21 SETA’s, are all the learnership requirements in the different SETA’s the same?

Guest: The learnerships have different entry requirements. It is important to always check the requirements on the advertisement. You can check the advertisements on newspapers or the Seta websites on weekly bases. Alternatively, you can use the contact details provided on the advertisement to clarify the application requirements and application process.

The minimum entry requirement for most learnerships, is a National Senior Certificate or matric equivalent qualification but there may be more specific subject (for example Mathematics and Science for engineering related trades) or grade requirements or even skills requirements such as computer literacy.

Presenter: Are there costs attached to a learnership that learners need to know about?

Guest: No, there are no costs involved. One of the SETAs responsibilities is to subsidise the stipends and training provision, generally they fund learnerships. Employers usually pay an allowance to a learner selected for a learnership programme which is subsidised by the SETA. This allowance is not a salary. It is intended to cover the cost of expenses like travel and meals only. The amount paid depends on the SETA. The allowance and conditions are agreed to with each learner before the start of the learnership. It is important for the learner to read the contract and keep the copy of the contract for future reference.

Presenter: Will a learner get employment after completing a learnership or apprenticeship?

Guest: There are no guarantees that employers will offer learners employment after completing the apprenticeship or learnership programme. The benefit of a learning programme is the qualification and work-experience a learner acquires because this will assist them in being more marketable for employment. The learner or Artisan will also create own employment and employment for others.

Presenter: Any last words in closure for our listeners?

Guest: It is important for the public to know the roles of the SETA’s and the advantages and benefits available in the learnership and apprenticeship programmes. The skills programmes available will assist the nation to bridge the gap of unemployment and poverty. Like any other post school options, there are always more young people who want to participate in the learnership than there are learnerships available. We encouraged the leaners to learn more about these opportunities through research and apply timeously. Learners are urged as well to conduct themselves professionally when there are any concerns with the training the grievance these must be raised with the relevant seta. Learners should not just abscond because they are not happy with the training. Remember you are creating a network base for yourself as you further build your career.

Presenter: Thank you. So how can one get in touch with you if they need further information?

To listen to Khetha podcasts, visit SABC Education platform at http://iono.fm/p/230

Guest: For more information our listeners can reach us through

  1. SMS with your question or send a “please call me” to 072 204 5056, or
  2. Call 086 999 0123, which is a call share line, from Monday to Friday between 8:00am and 4:30pm,
  3. Email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,
  4. Visit to our offices at 123 Francis Baard, Pretoria
  5. Facebook at www.facebook.com/careerhelp or,
  6. Twitter at www.twitter.com/rsacareerhelp 


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