Numerous Learners refer to poor treatment by training providers and / or employers. It has become clear that many Learners feel disempowered, abused and exploited.
A Learner is required to sign an employment contract for the duration of a Learnership. A Learner is thus considered an employee and is protected by the same legislation that protects permanent employees. Although Learnerships are registered with SETAs, their authority is undermined by their absence in this tri-agreement.
If SETAs were visible throughout a learnership, I believe they could more effectively monitor learnership management and progress to ensure integrity. Currently, SETA monitoring is limited to an accreditation site visit and the occasional follow-up at external verification (moderation).
SETAs rarely add value to provider capacitation even though they are perfectly positioned to do so. As more procedures such as an extension of scope and external moderation become online applications, site visits will become increasingly limited. Most training providers offer onsite Learnership training, yet SETAs seldom, if ever, visit these sites of delivery. Their argument is that they lack resources – which points to their inability to ensure the integrity of performance throughout the learning value chain.
Dealing with Disputes
The following information is sourced from the Department of Labour website, click on various links provided and you’ll be directed here.
Learners, employers or training providers can declare a dispute about the learnership with the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).
Reasons for Disputes
- learnership agreements;
- employment contracts between learners and employers;
- rules in the sectoral determination for learnerships; or
- ending learnership agreements or employment contracts.
Chapter 4 : Learnerships: Section 19
Learners may refer the problem to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration established by section 112 of the Labour Relations Act, 1995 (Act No. 66 of 1995). If Learners do this, they must also inform their employer of the problem and the action they will be taking. However, if you are uncomfortable and afraid with this, go to the CCMA any way and they will inform your employer officially.
The CCMA will try to resolve the issue in a friendly manner and will patiently listen to both sides. Our legislation places equal rights ad responsibilities on learners (employees) and employers to do the right thing.
Sectoral Determination 5: Learnerships
This sectoral determination establishes conditions of employment and rates of allowances for learners in South Africa. It stipulates that employers give learner workers details of their employment in writing.
The image below highlights common complaints about learner and training contractual understanding. These conditions make it difficult for learners to succeed and focused on goals.
Information Learners are Entitled To
According to the legislation, the following details must be given to Learners in writing, at the beginning of the program:
Employer’s and Learner’s Details
- Employer’s full name
- Employer’s address
- Learner’s name and
- The Learnership
- Place/s of work
- Date of employment
- Working hours and days of work
- The hours for study training sessions
- The date when a learner’s employment will end.
- Pay or the rate and method of calculating pay
- Rate for overtime
- Any other cash payments
- Any payments in kind and their value
- Frequency of payment
- Any deductions
- Any leave to which the learner is entitled
- Period of notice required, or
- Period of contract
The Employment contract must be –
- in writing and be signed by the employer and the learner;
- concluded when the learner commences employment;
- supplied with a copy of the contract of employment;
- updated if any of the details change;
- kept by the employer for a period of three years after the termination of the learnership
More about legislation
- Read Learnership Contract of Employment and Termination as this post explains what happens when it all ends unhappily.
- Legislation, Learnerships and Stipend Rules
- Learn more about the laws for learnership working hours, mealtimes and overtime
- Do you know that the legislation says learners must be issued with a Contract of Employment and Certificate of Service? Rules for the termination of learnership agreements also apply.
- How much South Africans are paid and your Learnership expectations
- How much are Interns Paid?
- Dangerous Learnership Hopping