What is a Learnership, and how do you find and apply for one? Check out our guide on finding the right learnership for you.
What is a Learnership?
Are you a young adult looking to gain work experience and kickstart your career? A learnership can be an excellent opportunity to do just that. Learnerships offer theoretical and practical training, as well as a stipend or salary, allowing you to earn while you learn.
- A learnership is an occupational training program, they are similar to apprenticeships in that they prepare you for specific job functions.
- Learnerships can be funded by a SETA (Sectoral Education and Training Authority) or business.
- Only accredited training providers registered with a SETA may conduct Learnership training.
- A Learnership is divided into theoretical and practical (on-the-job) components.
- SETA’s divide learners into two categories: 18.1: Employed candidates or 18.2: Unemployed candidates.
- 18.2 Learnerships can target the poor, unemployed and unskilled. Learnerships give these candidates invaluable workplace exposure and potential employment opportunities.
- 18.1 Learnerships target the Employed. These candidates can be placed on Learnerships in order to improve their career mobility opportunities with their employers.
- A learnership is usually a year or longer commitment and if successful, the learner will receive an industry-based qualification.
- Each economic sector in South Africa is represented by a Sectoral Education and Training Authority. These SETA’s coordinate training and development within their sectors. Perhaps you come from an economically challenged environment – you cannot afford to pay tertiary education fees but have the enthusiasm and passion to study further – learnerships create opportunities for you.
- Each learnership will have it’s own entry requirements based on language, aptitude, skills etc. You might not meet the entry requirements of one learnership but meet the needs of another.
- Keep going, keep Climbing, YOU must not give up!!
Words of Advice: Find a Learnership
- Learnerships are not easy!
- Some people sign up because of the stipend. They think that this is one way to earn money. Unfortunately, the stipend is only enough to get you to and from class, buy a cheap meal during the day and provide some financial support during your Learnership.
- It should not be seen as an income or as an entitlement. The stipend is there because we don’t want poor people to be excluded from opportunity.
So here are some hints.
FIVE STEPS TO FIND A LEARNERSHIP
Register as a work seeker with the Department of Labour for SETA Learnerships.
Find a Learnership Step 1 : Decide which sector you want to work in – eg hospitality, business administration etc.
Identify your interests and career goals. Consider what industries and job roles you are most interested in and what skills and experience you want to gain.
Find a Learnership Step 2: Research companies and industries you shortlisted.
Look into companies and industries that align with your interests and goals. Check out their websites and job boards for learnership opportunities.
Find a Learnership Step 3: Identify which SETA is relevant to you.
Check SETA websites for their ‘Training Service Provider Data Base’. Most SETA’s publish this in order to avoid you calling them directly! A service provider is someone accredited by them to run industry specific training. At the end of the training you will receive a certificate with the SETA and Training Provider logo on – this means that your training is recognized by industry and meets SETA standards.
DO NOT REGISTER WITH A TRAINING PROVIDER IF THEY ARE NOT ACCREDITED!!!!
Find a Learnership Step 4: Network.
Talk to family, friends, and acquaintances in your desired industry or profession. They may be able to provide insight into learnership opportunities or recommend you to someone who can.
Contact service providers to see if they are recruiting. If they are, make sure you have copies of all your certificates (matric), your last report card if you do not have matric and a well written, updated CV. Write a cover letter using correct language – don’t do it lokshin style… Then Apply!!!
Find a Learnership STEP 5: Apply, apply, apply!
Once you’ve identified learnership opportunities that match your interests and goals, apply to as many as possible. Be sure to tailor your applications to each opportunity, highlighting your relevant skills and experience.
Which NQF level is appropriate for you?
Many people become confused between the different levels in our education system. We have a National Qualifications Framework which ranks all courses and qualifications. Think of it as a ladder.
- If you have completed Matric, you have an NQF level 4 qualification. However, this is an academic qualification, not a vocational one. Meaning that you don’t yet have an industry-specific or trade qualification.
- If you are looking for a learnership, look for one at L3 or L4.
Matric is not a vocational (job) qualification. Matric is a stepping stone to whatever your dream or ambition is. Learnerships are qualifications directed specifically towards what the industry needs.
You Can Move UP and Down the NQF in order to Learn Relevant Skills
- Never assume that Learning must only mean moving up the NQF. There will be times when you have to acquire new skills and will need to complete a program below your former qualification.
- For example, a doctor has a degree but from time to time needs to be placed on additional training in order to improve their skills or knowledge in new areas of medical development. Perhaps they must learn how to use a new piece of equipment, the program is possible only on an NQFL 5 but they are already qualified at NQFL 8!
- Another example that is relevant to unemployed college or university graduates is the following:
- The New Venture Creation qualification is at NQFL 2 and 4. This qualification targets those who wish to set up their own businesses and become entrepreneurs. It is a demanding program, at level 4 you must not only learn about business – you must set up and run one too. A university or college graduate with an NQFL6 or level 7 qualification would qualify for the L4 program because it is assumed they would cope with the theoretical and practical demands of setting up a business within their relevant field. Even though it’s at a lower level than their degree or diploma, it’s a new knowledge field for them and they would be required to complete the business qualification at level 4.
- So don’t think that because you have a level 4 or higher qualification you will not benefit from a program at a lower NQF level. You must look at the skills – if they are new skills then you’re fine. However, if the skills and knowledge are ones you have already acquired then move on and find a qualification that exposes you to a new challenge.