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What is a Learnership? Amazing Features

What is a Learnership? List of Amazing Features. Did you know Learnerships are funded training programs that lead to a recognised SAQA qualification?

What is a Learnership? A Brilliant Question!

Learnerships were first introduced in the early 2000’s and have gained in popularity. But people still wonder, what is a learnership?

A Learnership is Job Training Leading to a Qualification

A learnership is a type of vocational education and training program that combines classroom-based learning with on-the-job training. A learnership aims to provide learners with practical skills and knowledge that they can use to pursue a career in a specific field.

Positive Statistics for Learnerships

Take a look at two positive features associated with Learnerships:

1. Learnerships Increase Employment:

Studies show that Learnerships increase employment rates, particularly among previously disadvantaged groups. According to a report by the Department of Higher Education and Training in South Africa, 65% of learners who completed a learnership in 2014 were employed within six months of completing the program. (Source: DHET, “Report on the Status of the Youth Unemployment Challenge in South Africa”, 2016, p. 52)

2. Learnerships Improve Skills:

Learnerships have also been shown to improve learners’ skills and productivity. A study by the Human Sciences Research Council in South Africa found that learners who completed a learnership had significantly higher levels of numeracy and literacy than those who did not participate in a learnership. (Source: HSRC, “Towards a Developmental State: The Challenge for South Africa”, 2016, p. 28)

Negative statistics about Learnerships

1. High Learnership Dropout Rates:

Dropout rates for learnerships can be high, particularly for learners from disadvantaged backgrounds. According to a report by the Department of Higher Education and Training in South Africa, the average completion rate for learnerships in 2014 was 41%. (Source: DHET, “Report on the Status of the Youth Unemployment Challenge in South Africa”, 2016, p. 52)

2. Limited Access to Learnerships:

It can be difficult to find learnerships, particularly for learners from rural areas or those who do not have access to information about available programs. The Department of Higher Education and Training, says the majority of learners who completed learnerships in 2014 were from urban areas. (Source: DHET, “Report on the Status of the Youth Unemployment Challenge in South Africa”, 2016, p. 55)

what is a learnership?

The Main Learnership Features: What is a Learnership?

Here are 5 key Learnership features:

1. Learnerships Offer Structured Learning:

Learnerships are structured programs that consist of both theoretical and practical training. The accredited training provider conducts the training while on-the-job-training is done in the workplace.

2. Learnerships Offer Practical Workplace Experience:

One of the most important aspects of a learnership is the on-the-job training that learners receive. This allows you to gain practical experience in a real work environment. You then learn how to put your theoretical knowledge into practice.

3. Learnership Qualifications Have SETA/QCTO Accreditation:

Learnership qualifications are accredited via the QCTO and a sector education and training authority (SETA). This means that learners who complete a learnership receive a nationally-recognised qualification that is relevant to the industry or sector they are working in.

4. Employment opportunities for learners:

Completing a learnership can significantly improve a learner’s employment prospects. Many employers prefer to hire learners who have completed a learnership because they have both theoretical knowledge and practical experience.

5. Learnership Funding:

In South Africa, learnerships are funded by the Skills Development Levy (SDL). Employers pay the levy to the South African Revenue Service (SARS). The SDL is used to fund training programs, including learnerships, for employees and unemployed learners.

Learnerships are an excellent way for you to gain practical skills and experience in a particular industry. At the end of it, you will also receive a nationally-recognized qualification. Learnership training is also beneficial for employers, who can train learners to meet their specific skills needs.

industry learnerships

What is a Learnership?: Learnership Structure

Learnership Qualification Components:

Learnerships integrate qualifications with work-based experience.

A learner who completes a Learnership will be able to show that they have skills, knowledge, values and attitudes that will make them employable.

1. Fundamental component:

Basic educational requirements to take part in a learnership – usually life skills, numeracy and literacy competencies and communication skills

2. Core component:

The mainframe of the learning programme (what the qualification is to be based on) – the core skills and knowledge required

3. Electives / Specialisations:

The specialised areas, or the application of the core skills and knowledge in defined work situations.

What is a Learnership? They Imitate but Don’t Guarantee Permanent Employment

Learnerships are designed to give participants hands-on experience in a particular industry, while also providing them with theoretical knowledge and technical skills. Take a look at Occupational Certificates that can currently be obtained via learnerships.

Learnerships groom learners for their future work experiences. Like a job, a learnership is a contractual arrangement between a learner and employer. A training provider is included in the contractual arrangement and commits the learner and employer to a formal training program.

What is a Learnership?: Contracts

Once learners have signed contracts, their learnerships are registered with SARS so the employer can claim rebates, reimbursements of stipends issued and BEE Points.

Learner information is entered into the National Learner Registration Database so that each individual learner and employer can be tracked. This is why learners are discouraged from registering for more than one learnership at a time.

Learners are Employees for the duration of the Learnership contract

  • Learners are termed ’employees’ and protected by labour legislation. You can register complaints with the CCMA or the nearest Department of Labour branch and the Department of Higher Education and Training. PSG Wealth was reported to Keep Climbing as they issued fake learnership contracts and violated learners human rights, this shows that not all employers are to be trusted.
  • Learnerships are intended for a variety of individuals. So explore learnership opportunities if you have recently completed your schooling, or you are unemployed or looking to upskill or transition into a new career. You can see that Learnership training is particularly useful for young people who have limited work experience. They may find it difficult to enter the job market without additional training and support.
  • Learnerships are typically offered by employers, training providers, and government departments, and can range in length from a few months to several years. They can be full-time or part-time and often involve a combination of classroom-based learning and on-the-job training. Participants who successfully complete a learnership program may be eligible to receive a nationally recognized qualification or certification, which can improve their chances of finding employment in their chosen field.

What ‘occupationally directed’ means: What is a Learnership?

A Learnership has two key features: 

  1. Structured training toward a registered SAQA qualification
  2. On-the-job learning, mentoring and practice

Learnerships are a valuable opportunity if you are looking to build your skills and improve your employment prospects. By providing practical experience and qualifications, they can help you enter and succeed in the job market, and contribute to the growth and development of the South African economy.

Where to Apply for Learnerships

Keep Climbing recommends that youth and the unemployed register as work seekers with the Department of Labour. Get instructions on how to register and apply for learnerships.

To apply for learnerships, you will need to do the following:

  1. Find learnership opportunities
  2. Research where critical skills exist.
  3. Organise your learnership application in advance.
  4. Prepare different versions of motivation letters.
  5. Prepare for learnership interviews.

Responding to learnership adverts

  • Learnership adverts must state the qualification the learnership is based on. If it’s not there, you’re not applying to a professional organisation and should be careful.
  • The advert must also include how much the stipend is. Accredited organisations that operate professionally are upfront.
  • Send us copies of adverts that don’t do this so we can keep them on record and address it with the relevant SETA’s.


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