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What is a Learnership? Get the Best Advantages Now

What is a Learnership and What are the Benefits?

What is a Learnership?!” Let’s take a look at Learnership features and their many benefits! Then decide if one is right for you.

what is a learnership poster

What is a Learnership?

Answer: A learnership is a funded job training program that prepares you for work and results in a recognized SAQA qualification. A learnership contract typically lasts 12 months with learners earning a stipend for its duration.

Is a Learnership a Job?

A learnership is like an apprenticeship. You work and study at the same time. Learnerships are offered by companies who then get tax benefits for running the program at their premises. Because a learnership usually lasts for a year this means your job will also last for a year.

What is a learnership and how is it different from an Internship?

A learnership is like a training program where you learn and work at the same time. It’s longer than an internship and leads to a qualification or certificate. Internships are shorter and focus more on gaining work experience.

learnerships and internships differences

Learnership Job Training For a Qualification

Learnerships focus on occupational certificates. This means that a learnership is a type of vocational education and training program because it integrates structured learning with on-the-job training. A learnership therefore aims to provide learners with practical skills and knowledge that they can use to pursue a career in a specific field.

Two Core Learnership Objectives: 

  1. Provide structured training toward a registered SAQA qualification
  2. Provide meaningful on-the-job learning, mentoring and practice.

What ‘Occupationally Directed’ Means: What is a Learnership?

The terms “occupationally directed” and “occupational qualifications” are becoming more familiar in South Africa. This is because we struggle with unemployment and industry claims that we are not correctly prepared for the labour market. This is where occupational (vocational) education and training and the QCTO comes in.

Occupational qualifications are driven by the QCTO and SETAs. Their specific job qualifications are supposed to strengthen and develop your ability to meet a particular job expectation in one or a range of industries. The skills that you learn are specifically related to the workplace, empowering your career development and future job-seeking opportunities.

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.

vocational education

1. The Main Features: What is a Learnership?

Learnerships are designed for hands-on experience in a particular industry. They therefore provide relevant theoretical knowledge and technical skills.

Important 5 Learnership Advantages Features and Benefits:

The easiest way to answer “What is a learnership” is to explain the main features.

1. What is a Learnership’s Structured Learning?

Learnerships are structured registered programs that contain theoretical and practical training. Therefore accredited training providers must conduct the training and assessments. Learners also complete meaningfully structured on-the-job-training in the workplace.

These rules regarding structured learning create a reliable channel for learners to be awarded a full or part qualification. So this means that the qualification you earn is recognized in industry.

2. What is a Learnership 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. You also get to meet professionals doing what you want to do. Beware of learnership programs that don’t stick to this pattern.

3. What is a Learnership Qualification? SETA/QCTO Accreditation:

Learnership qualifications are accredited by the QCTO and a sector education and training authority (SETA). This means that learners who complete a learnership receive a nationally-recognized qualification that is relevant to the industry or sector they are working in. See our list of 168 amazing learnership occupational certificates here.

learnerships help unemployed youth

4. Employment opportunities for learners:

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

5. What is a Learnership Fee? Learnerships are free

Learnerships are funded by the Skills Development Levy (SDL). Employers pay the levy to the South African Revenue Service (SARS). The SDL then funds training programs, including learnerships, for employees and unemployed learners.

2. What is a Learnership Program Structure?

What is a Learnership Qualification?

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. Learnership Fundamental component:

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

2. Learnership Core component:

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

3. Learnership Electives / Specialisations:

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

What is a Learnership in terms of Employment?

Learnerships Don’t Guarantee Permanent Employment

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 part of the contractual arrangement that then commits the learner and employer to a formal training program.

Learnerships are therefore 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.

What is a Learnership Contract?

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.

Learnerships Make You an Employee for the duration of the Learnership contract

Learners are termed ’employees’ and protected by labour legislation. You can therefore 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.

What is a Learnership in Industry?

Learnerships are intended for a variety of individuals across industries. So explore learnership opportunities if you have recently completed your schooling, are unemployed, 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.

Who Offers Learnerships?

Learnerships are typically offered by employers, training providers, and government departments. They can even range in length from a few months to several years. They can be full-time or part-time and involve a combination of classroom-based learning and on-the-job training.

finding learnerships find a learnership poster

What is a Learnership Positive Statistic?

Take a look at two positive features associated with Learnerships:

1. A Learnership Increases Employment:

Studies show that Learnerships increase employment rates, particularly among previously disadvantaged groups. The Department of Higher Education and Training reported that 65% of learners who completed a learnership in 2014 were employed within six months of 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 improved 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 only 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)

industry learnerships

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 organizations 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.


find seta learnerships

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.

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