Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Keep Climbing’s first fake learnership was a 2017 case of indentured labour at PSG, who held youth hostage for ransom if they wished to resign. INSETA had to be publicly pressured to act, even when doing so, their concern for youth at PSG Wealth was purely administrative.

Youth Conned

INSETA and the QCTO implement learnership quality assurance, meaning they are responsible for ensuring learners have a safe, legal experience. However they rarely check learnership contracts for legal compliance, allowing employers such as PSG to treat youth as captive slaves.

Learnership definition

PSG defines ‘learnership’ as

PSG’s own interpretation of learnerships

The industry standard

P Slavery G

Indentured labour is a form of slavery.

When people are ‘bonded’ to employers for a period of time, their free will is removed as a right for the duration of the contract. In the case of a learnership at PSG, the bondage period lasted 12 months.

Payments, if made to a bonded person, often come with heavy conditions and requirements of servitude.

Terminology for payments is purposefully vague and misleading, making it difficult for inexperienced and scared ‘worker hostages’ to challenge employers.

Learners bonded to PSG were confused, afraid and trapped in a hostile work relationship.

An advance implies a loan, not a stipend nor work compensation. What do you understand from the term ‘advance’?

PSG Wealth paid a ‘monthly advance’. The language used disadvantaged learners and distorted the meaning of a learner earning a stipend.

Examples of unlawful learnership hostage clauses

It’s worth noting that PSG pursued unemployed youth for these contractual arrangements, a vulnerable market segment often lacking financial reserves.

The PSG ‘learnership’ learners were sales agents required to meet stringent targets. Those who struggled and resigned were issued with debt acknowledgments stating they owe PSG money.

This means learners must purchase the right to leave.


Youth have few fair labour market options available to them and are vulnerable to predatory labour market conduct.

A learnership is an industry based occupational qualification experience. Learnerships are implemented by training organisations accredited for specific qualifications.

Learnership and apprenticeship candidates are advised to submit contracts for our review.

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