Are Learnership Stipends Fair Now? Allowances Learners Tell All

What Learners say about Learnership Stipends. Are Learnership Stipends Fair?

Learnership Stipends: A Path to Poverty or Fair Compensation?

learnership stipends: learnership stipend rates

Trapped Between Business and Black Tax. Learner complaints show how SETAs fail to support and monitor accredited organizations and employers, thereby allowing for a range of irregularities and questionable practices.

Learnership Stipends: Does Business Do Harm?

Companies are rewarded for providing learnerships. They receive generous BEE points and tax rebates, often raking back millions.

What is the amount of the learnership allowance for companies?

Are Learnership Stipends Fair?

Companies can claim a total of R60 000 per completed learnership, and R100 000 for each disabled candidate. Companies ALSO claim back all payments made to learners. This means firms have nothing to lose but everything to gain if they pay learners a stipend that helps alleviate poverty conditions.

Warning: Learnership Stipends Under Fire!

So why don’t they? Do firms secure their wealth by creating a poor working class who earn too little to change and improve their economic status?

Youth who can’t afford traditional qualifications can choose occupational qualifications such as learnerships. Do we punish them by exploiting their limited choices?

On a learnership, you can only qualify if your portfolio is signed off by an employer and if you have completed the workplace experience requirements.

This means youth must provide their labour at whatever price the company is willing to pay if they wish to achieve a qualification.

The Dark Side of Learnership Stipends: What You Need to Know!

Q: Would it be better if funded learnerships for the unemployed were implemented by TVET Colleges and if only learnerships for the employed were implemented by firms? 

This would remove the problem of youth being exploited in a labour market that offers them very little protections.

Employers believe that since they are providing study and work opportunity – learners should not expect more.  Is this fair given that the business isn’t sacrificing much and in fact, gains plenty by providing the opportunity?  If learners can’t cope on R1500, does it mean they are too poor to participate?

Legislation for Learnership Stipends

Legislation provides minimum stipend benchmarks, but few organisations have policies against exploiting low wages and instead, opt to only pay minimums. 

Complaints about learnership stipend issues were posted on Keep Climbing. Names have been removed to protect the identity of learners, some of whom are still in the situation. 

*Disclaimer: Comments have not been investigated and while some efforts have been made to assist, not everyone received the support required.  Comments must be substantiated as fact, but should not be dismissed without investigation by the relevant authorities.

ccma affidavit

Complaints About Learnership Stipends

The names of organisations remain in the comments.  If the relevant SETA contacts me with evidence to dispute the comments, then I will add the evidence they provide to this post.

Learners posting comments should understand that issues of non-payment should be taken to the DHET, the Department of Labour, the relevant Union, the relevant SETA and finally the CCMA.

Lodge complaints at each of the departments listed, they are all inefficient and you cannot be sure who will actually step up for you.  The CCMA is listed last as it’s the least effective in these matters. When you go to them, you must say you’re an employee and that your SALARY hasn’t been paid, they don’t understand learnerships and stipends.

Broke and Disillusioned: Learners Speak Up About Low Learnership Stipends!

About Learnership Stipends Non-Payment

31st October 2016  Hi, I’m doing a Learnership NQF L2 for New Venture Creation at Climamark. I am surprised because every time they have to pay us they come up with stories that SSETA did not pay them. They told us that we get stipend on the 15 the or 30th of every month so I’m surprised this month we did not get any stipend. Today they told us that we will get it next month and they will loan us R300 and they will deduct it from the stipend. We did not get paid for 2 months now and we travel to school and some even pay for accommodation. Please help. And where we attend there is no water, no tables to write, we don’t have stationery.


Hi Leonie and thanks for being helpful. I was in the learnership with ServicesSETA since 2015 November ended last year 2016 November. In partnership with Department of Social Development and Dambuza Youth Centre in Pietermaritzbug. So there are stipends that are due to some of the students and most of the students got all their money and some of us didn’t get it all. We were supposed to get it all but it seems like ServicesSETA and DSD their are pointing at one another. Are we gonna be able to get our money if I may ask? 4 months we haven’t been paid which makes like R6000 rand! X Hi
We are in a learnership for professional driving. Our problem is we have had about two months  of not getting stipends and they stopped us coming. We don’t have any information on whats going on.
As the learners we have a right to education as the learnerships are for youth that have no access to further their education. So what must we do?
Just leave them or what? X Hi! We as a student we have a problem when it come to our stipend. We don’t get it on time some time we don’t even get it. Like now we have never received a money for 3 months we always getting stories so can we get help? X Hi! we have a problem at Brits. There’s a project that started in August at Letlhabile. We’ve been attending and not yet received a cent from them, we didn’t even understand what is really happening there. We would appreciate your help. IEB is involved there and Hernic mine is also part of it.

Fake Learnerships?

Hi, I’m in a road and transport management learnership where we had no induction no mentors and our log books are not signed. The duties we do are not related to the learnership. When ever we try to talk about this issues we are told to go and work as they are paying us to work. The agent who recruited us also admits that they have no clue what a learnership is but refused to come and talk to them.Where can we seek help?


Hello! early this year (2017) I signed a contract with SETA @kuyasa development organisation in ladysmith. We signed a register every month but we never get paid. They keep on promising us empty promises.  What worries me most is that 25% of other interns got their monies except us. When we call a guy from finance he keep on telling us that we will receive payment after 24hours but it been months now, there is nothing in our bank. Please help us we are struggling. X Dec 28, 2016 11:33pm

I am on a learnership, WOL (War on Leaks) with Rand Water I haven’t being paid for six months laid complaints to them but still nothing. What should I do or where do I go or who to call…Help

learner pay stipend

Can’t Cope on R1500 Learnership Stipends

Many of our youth pay #BlackTax – support to their families. Youth are maintaining struggling households because their communities perceive them as wealthy.

Yet many learners barely earn enough to keep themselves alive. This makes our youth vulnerable to all sorts of struggles and power based relationships, such as the ‘sugar babes’ and ‘ben 10s’  in order to find a way to help their families and maintain their own dignity.

Apr 9, 2017 

We like to pass our appreciation about the relevant information.

Pity some of the young people are still being exploited by the companies because of the current situation they are faced with.There are young people in Durban at ISIPHNGO area who are renting Rooms, have to buy food and to pay for transport on top of that. Yet they are to receive R1500 a month only as their stipend.

Why are our young so exploited after they studied years to become electricians for our better country?


I am also an artisan at public hospital and I also feel exploited by our government about less wages for artisans and I also think to resign and resort myself to private company. When will our government will realise they need us?


Hello! I’m currently in an apprenticeship from department. I finished with 6 month institutional training, now I’m doing my practicals. What I want to know is, is it fair for me to still get R1500 which I started on?  I am on phase 4 now.
How much an apprentice supposed to get?

Stipend Deductions: How Low Can Learnership Stipends Go?

Learnership stipends cannot fall below the minimum rates.

Hi I forgot to mention that sometimes we don’t get a full stipend and if ever you are absent they deduct the stipend. Does it happen that a stipend is being deducted as it is not a salary?

Tell us how much your Learnership Stipends Are

My academy is Artisan Development Academy in Berea Road Durban. And if you need PPE”S they give us cheap Chinese material. I am very worried about this academy because they make our lives miserable. Please help!


We recently got a learnership in Robertville, a gumboot making company. Our issue here is that our stipend is being deducted for: provident fund, uif, agency fee(which we don’t know about) council levy and NBC sick fund. We were not told of the deductions before we commenced,
The deductions amounted to 33% of the gross wage since they paid us for one day, and on our payslips for job title instead of it stating learner it stated general worker. When we asked, they said it’s the 1st time the company ran a learnership and they have to update the system.So what must we do mam please help.


Hi Leonie Hall
For a full week we worked. We are promised R600 weekly stipend.
And for that week we worked only one day which supposed to have amounted to R120 but after deductions it was R70.   X

We have problem at Royal Bafokeng institute with our stipend. It was supposed to be R1000.00 but they give us R655.00. We need to know what is the exact amount we supposed to get? We did not sign any contract. We get paid late. Our problem is that we don’t know whether the stipend we get is R1000.00 or R1500.00

Poor Learnership Support

Hi, I am from Newcastle. The reason why I write to you is that I need advice because I have been accepted to do my apprenticeship in Dormac company so, they told me they wont offer me accommodation so, I need an advice on that case about what I should do as I am not resident of Durban so, should as company give me money for accommodation in my stipend as they wont give me one? so would you please help me on what I should do on this case please.


19th April 2017 Hi! I am doing a diesel mechanic apprenticeship with MERSETA. My problem is that they have placed me at Toyota and I’m working with small vehicle’s whilst I were supposed to be working with trucks or mining equipments, this thing is eating me from the inside bcoz I’m going to have experience on small vehicle and my qualification is for the big vehicles or earth moving equipment…..pls help.

learnership complaint letter

Learnership Stipends: Story from Gugu – Posted on LinkedIn

Hi Leonie

Thank you so so much for this platform you have opened for us all.

I’m a learner myself at Progression Options doing AAT: Accounting Technician I’ve never had a permanent job in my life “as yet :)”

I was on an Financial Management internship before.

FACT is our stipends are for transport and for us to look presentable at work, that’s what it’s meant for and we as learners sign up for that. Reality is most of our families/communities do not have those facts about our stipends. They “believe” that we (learners) as their children have made it in life, we done with school and we are now “working” so we need to help out financially no questions asked #BlackTax. What’s keeping me going with my stipend is self-discipline.

“It’s not how much I have BUT how I use what I have”

FACT = Our stipends are not enough BUT with the little that I have, I make sure to appreciate and make the best out of it. I have a monthly budget that helps me see what I can afford to do and what I can’t afford too. With this I’ve never struggled to come to work and that’s all that matters right??? At the end of it all I know my CV will be FAT enough for all employers out there.

BUT It really would assist us if employers look into increasing our stipends, until then I guess we need to keep up with what we have.

Personal motivation = “I will suffer for a while but in no time it will all come to an end, then I can start earning what I rightfully deserve.”

That’s my take on the matter!!!!

What are your thoughts About Learnership Stipends?

Tell us if learners should be more grateful for learnership stipends even when they are low.

Related Posts

Leonie Hall

Leonie Hall, disruptive thinker and dynamic strategist, is an expert in education, development, quality management and innovation. She has spoken at local and international conferences; and currently works as an independent consultant and content developer. Contact Leonie for a consultation.

This Post Has 16 Comments

  1. Leonie Hall

    Hi Mpilo, you can go to the CCMA for help.

  2. Mpilo

    Hi i would like to report a company Ikhono Linked skills we on a learnership but they are not paying us money they don’t respond to our question but we already sign contract this is not fair.

  3. nomfundo mfusi

    I had a problem regarding my payslip, it’s been a full year and months without getting my payslip. I am doing IT with The Learning Organisation, we asked for our payslip several times and they don’t even bother to answer us. Also worried about the stipend we get, We receive R4200 before deduction and after its R4158 . And we’ve been rolled over for another learnership but the stipend still the same. Last we were doing Technical support NQF level 4 , we are now on NQF level 5 Support system.but stipend is the same. Is it possible, last year 2019 October they gave us payslip written that I’m an Admin learner hence I’m doing IT learnership.

  4. Onke ntame

    We are the replacement learners in Peddie currently undergoing the learnership of Business venture new creation. 

    We are enquiring about our stipend as 10 learners from our class received their stipend last week thursday and yet 15 remaining learners are still waiting without any asurance that something is done about us the remaining students.

    Looking forward to your response, thank you.

  5. Kamogelo

    Hi there,

    Please assist regarding the payment of our stipends.

    I am intern at Titan Trade Technologies placed under the host employer Tshwane District Department of Health but the funding is from SSETA. We started in November 2017 but our stipends are always late and they ignore our e-mails at times or when we call them to inquire they transfer the calls from pillar to post with no tangible response. Our bank statements and e-mails prove the above and we have not been paid yet again for the previous month up until now.

    Please advise on what to do.


  6. Anonymous

    Hy Lion I am business practice learn which started on the 27 August 2018 which end next year on the 26 August 2018 and the stipend is R2000. I would like to know why my stipend its not in yet while everyone I’m attending with got their stipend what should I do now.

  7. Thabi

    I am from Limpopo and i am doing Tourist guiding learnership with the VPK as our service provider, We started on the 10th of March 2018 but we never got our stipends. The class is situated at Modimolle. Some of the learners got their money but only for March but they receiced their money about a month ago. We are trying everything we can but there’s no progress. The people who are supposed to pay us keep changing the dates on the payment day. They always come up with lame excuse: ”The system crashes down whenever we try to send the money.” These Enviromental Affairs can’t be trusted anymore. They always come up with excuses. They hardly come to us when we need them for a meeting or site visit. We don’t know what to do. They are not committed to us and we don’t know whom to report to. Today 90% of the learners got their training clothes for next month for our practicals but two didn’t, but that will be sorted but the money is the issue is here. Who can we go to? I live 70KMs from Modimolle and i am expected to attend everyday and if i dont, they mark me absent, but how can i attend without money? I have loaned R3000 so far and they need it. My mother is very disappointed and sad. She’s starting to think I might be lying about this learnership. We did everything in our power. She made sacrifices for me but this is depressing. I don’t know what to do.

  8. Leonie Hall

    Hi there! If they say it’s SARS related then you must take the payslips to SARS and question how much you were taxed. A question for you, since you paid UIF – are you able to claim unemployment now?

  9. Anonymous

    Hi Leonie
    I did a learnership at the AA in 2017. It started January Last year and ended in December. Now my question for is, is something that happened with our last payment in January. The learnership was R7000 before deductions and R6876.80 after deductions every month. When we started last year Jan we were paid half of the R7k because the learnership started late Jan, on the 23rd to be specific – there were deductions of about R300 so in toltal we got +-R3.2k; so the other half was supposed to be paid to us in Jan 2018 as per agreement because the money was from SETA and we were told that we are entitled to the R3.5k. My issue is that we didn’t get paid that R3.5k in full and even if the were deductions it still doesn’t make sense why we’d get paid R2.8k? Most of us were robbed +-R700 from our payments. The least that one of our own got was R2.6k. When we asked why this was happening they told us that SARS and UIF deducted our money hence the amount we got but what doesn’t make sense is that when we got the first half of the R7k it was deducted but not to the extreme of -+700, so why now? We had deductions all year and our portfolios were complete, the facilitator told us we’d get our money which we did, but it was not what we were promised. I don’t know if you could shed light on this situation for me maybe? I want to know if it’s possible R3.5k stipend can be deducted to an extreme of what ours was deducted? Is it lawful? Does SETA know or allow for this to happen? Can I go to Dep of Labour and claim? This issue has been bugging me for the longest time. I’ve wanted to take it up with the company but I felt so defeated and cheated by them with their dishonesty.

  10. Leonie Hall

    Hi Sinethemba
    Please check your emails and respond to me there! You can definitely solve the situation.

  11. Sinethemba

    hi Leonie
    am in Construction health and safety leanership which started on the 07 November 2017 and the stipend is R1.500 we attended the whole month of November on our cost at the end of November we never received any stipend . the stipend was paid on the 15 of December and it was R1.200 and we were told that the December stipend will be paid in January before the opening date which was on the 8th of January 2018 nothing was paid up until now the 29 January I’ve been attending at my own cost no stipend has been paid . I’ve missed two formative assessments that done last week from Tuesday until Friday 26 /01/18 ? when I attended today I was told that I will not write the formatives that I’ve missed I will only write summative assessment for the formatives . I’ve tryed means and ways to attend at my own cost from the 8th of this month until 22/01/18 and I couldn’t have or make any means to attend until I was able to get money for taxi fare . please assist me on this what steps should I take to convince them so they can allow me to write the formatives and the fear that I have at the moment is that if this none payment issue of stipend continues I wount be able to attend normally and I will still miss out work that I wount be able to do and at the end of the day I wount be able to obtain the qualification .

  12. Sinethemba

    hi Leonie
    am in health and safety leanership which started on the 07 /11/2017 wh

  13. Nadia

    Hi Leoni

    It is true that a learnership stipend is not a salary and therefore cannot be adjusted when one is absent. Should a learner receive a full stipend every month even though s/he does not attend for the full month?

    Your clarification would help a lot.


  14. sinqobile

    How to apply for stipend when you get inserves training

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