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Unlock Best Apprenticeships in South Africa

SETA apprenticeships receive funding. Apprenticeships are monitored by the QCTO and various SETAs. Apprenticeships are in many industries.

The Guide to Unlocking Apprenticeships in South Africa

Apprenticeships are excellent opportunities for young people to acquire the skills and experience necessary to succeed in a trade.

What is an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships combine theory, practical work and workplace practice in a chosen trade field and in the case of a listed trade end in a trade test and an artisan certificate of competence.

In South Africa, apprenticeships are monitored by the QCTO and are rolled out by various SETAs. The National Artisan Moderation Body (NAMB) oversees the quality assurance of apprenticeships on behalf of the QCTO. The NAMB is an integral part of the DHET and not a public entity or a state-owned company.

SETA Apprenticeships

SETA apprenticeships are work-based learning programs that combine practical on-the-job training with theoretical classroom instruction. These programs are designed to equip learners with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in their chosen careers while also providing employers with skilled and competent employees.

Examples of SETA Apprenticeships

There are a number of SETAs that offer artisan trade training in South Africa. The specific SETA that is responsible for a particular trade will depend on the sector in which the trade is classified.

Apprenticeship examples: SETAs that offer artisan trade training

  • The Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services SETA (MERSETA) is responsible for a number of artisan trades, including electrician, fitter and turner, boilermaker, and millwright.
  • The Construction Education and Training Authority (CETA) is responsible for trades such as bricklayer, plasterer, plumber, and carpenter.
  • The Transport Education and Training Authority (TETA) is responsible for trades such as diesel mechanic, auto electrician, and motor mechanic.
  • The FoodBev SETA is responsible for trades such as baker, butcher, and dairy technologist.
  • The Wholesale and Retail SETA (W&RSETA) is responsible for trades such as upholsterer and cabinet maker.

These are just a few examples of the SETAs that offer artisan trade training in South Africa. It’s important to note that the list of SETAs responsible for specific trades may change over time, as industries and sectors evolve. If you’re interested in pursuing an apprenticeship in a particular trade, it’s a good idea to research which SETA is responsible for that trade in the current context.

More Information on specific SETA Apprenticeships

The Apprenticeship Grant Policy assists employers in partially subsidising the cost of implementing apprenticeships. Funding for the training of apprentices is available to employers in the form of a grant, subject to the applicants meeting the Qualifying Criteria.

Below are examples of SETA apprenticeships:

FoodBevSETA Apprenticeships

The following apprenticeships have been identified as a priority through the Scarce Skills research conducted by the FoodBev SETA:

  • Fitter and Turner
  • Fitters
  • Millwrights
  • Electricians
  • Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration
  • Any other apprenticeship that may be identified as a Scarce Skill, and which is on the NAMB list

MQA Apprenticeships

The Mining SETA is known as the MQA – Mining Quality Assurance. The MQA allows employees of Mining Companies and Unemployed Learners who will need to be placed with Mining companies for On-the-Job Training

NB: Unemployed Learners must approach Mining Companies to be able to access training in Learnerships as the MQA only facilitates and funds the training for Mining and Minerals Sector Employers.

Employers (through their MQA Accredited Skills Development Providers) are responsible for registering learners on the MQA Learner Management Information System (I Share System).

Trade experience but no qualifications?

Documentation required to register and complete an RPL Learner by employers:

  • Registered Learning Programme Agreements
  • certified ID copies, Training Plan, Proof of Disability for disabled learners
  • Learners’ highest qualification (except for qualifications with open access)
  • Employment Contract and Confirmation of Employment.
MQA List of Funded Trades
  • Fitter including Machining
  • Heavy Equipment Mechanic/Earthmoving
  • Electrical
  • Instrumentation Mechanician
  • Millwright
  • Welder
  • Diesel Fitter
  • Goldsmith
  • Diamond Cutter
  • Diamond and Gemstone Setter
  • Earthmoving
  • Auto Electrician/Autotronics
  • Plater Welder
  • Plater Boilermaker
Download more MQA apprenticeship information

CHIETA Apprenticeships

View the CHIETA apprenticeship documents and information at this link.

Apprenticeship Grant Amounts

Artisan Grant Amount: Payment is processed in 2 Tranches:

Registration Tranche: R 103 145

Completion Tranche: R 103 145
Total Grant Amount = R 206 290

The National Artisan Moderation Body: NAMB

NAMB moderates trade tests and develops and manages a national database of registered artisan trade assessors and moderators. NAMB records artisan achievements and recommends their certification to the QCTO.

Here’s a list of NAMB functions:
  • Monitor the performance of accredited artisan trade test centres;
  • Moderate artisan trade tests;
  • Develop, maintain and apply a national data bank of instruments for the assessment and moderation of artisan trade tests;
  • Develop and maintain a national database of registered artisan trade assessors and moderators;
  • Record artisan achievements;
  • Determine appeals against assessment decisions;
  • Recommend the certification of artisans to the QCTO; and
  • Perform any other prescribed function.

Apprenticeship Trade Tests

A trade test is a final integrated summative assessment for an artisan qualification conducted at an accredited Trade Test Centre by an Assessor registered with the National Artisan Moderating Body.

Search for your nearest trade test centre.

For information on the replacement of trade certificates, contact the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations on 012 003 1800 or visit their website:

Working as an Apprentice

In South Africa, the minimum wage for apprentices is determined by the National Minimum Wage Act, which came into effect on January 1, 2019. According to this legislation, the minimum wage for apprentices is 50% of the national minimum wage for each hour worked.

As of March 2023, the national minimum wage in South Africa is R23.63 per hour. Therefore, the minimum wage for apprentices is R11.82 per hour. However, it’s important to note that some SETAs or employers may offer higher wages than the minimum required by law.

In addition to their wages, apprentices may also receive benefits such as medical aid, pension contributions, and bonuses, depending on the employer and the terms of their apprenticeship agreement.

It’s worth noting that apprenticeships focus on learning and developing skills, rather than earning a high salary. That being said, apprenticeships can be a valuable way for young people to gain valuable skills and work experience while earning an income.

The minimum wage for apprentices in South Africa is based on the National Minimum Wage Act of 2018.

National Minimum Wage Act, 2018. Government Gazette of the Republic of South Africa, No. 42131, Notice No. 1442, 8 January 2019.

here is a link to the government’s official online repository where you can access the full text of the Act:

Please note that the Act sets out a range of minimum wage rates for different sectors and types of workers, including apprentices. The specific wage rate that applies to a particular apprentice may depend on a range of factors, such as the sector they are working in, the length of their apprenticeship, and the terms of their contract with their employer or SETA.

Information about what Apprentices earn

The average salary for an apprentice is R 7 773 per month in South Africa (2023). These salaries were reported on Indeed:

  1. Green Point, Western Cape R 8 599 per month8 salaries reported
  2. Krugersdorp, Gauteng R 8 290 per month15 salaries reported
  3. Durban, KwaZulu-Natal R 6 984 per month6 salaries reported
  4. Cape Town, Western Cape R 6 981 per month6 salaries reported
  5. Johannesburg, Gauteng R 6 881 per month6 salaries reported
  6. Pretoria, Gauteng R 6 450 per month7 salaries reported
  7. Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape R 6 273 per month9 salaries reported
  8. Bryanston, Gauteng R 6 000 per month8 salaries reported
  9. Burgersfort, Limpopo R 5 447 per month9 salaries reported

About Apprenticeship Programmes

Find apprenticeships on sites like Puff and Pass.


Why are apprenticeships important?

Apprenticeships are aimed at developing trade-specific skills. In South Africa, several industries desperately need skilled artisans. By establishing a formal skills development structure, such shortage of skills can be addressed by training people in the necessary fields.

If you are interested in becoming an artisan, speak to qualified artisans and, where possible, visit their workplaces to see if this is the type of work you would like to do. Also, contact your local college`s advisory centre for guidance.

Select Apprenticeships Based on Your Career Goals

Apprenticeships are the most common form of non-academic training in sub-Saharan Africa. Most apprenticeships are provided by the private sector, for a fee, and lead to self-employment rather than to wage jobs. Where the effects of apprenticeship training have been measured, they show that earnings are not higher, on average, for people who did an apprenticeship than for those who did not. This implies that people pay for apprenticeship training that does not benefit them! Research reveals that apprenticeships do benefit some people more than others. It’s also been found that the returns to apprenticeships can fall with the level of education.

Sounds bleak right? It’s no use pursuing an option and then assuming you can b passive while the jobs will just roll in. If you’re looking for an apprenticeship, have a real career plan and know why you want the apprenticeship and what you expect it to help you achieve. If you don’t do this planning, you may simply end up becoming another unemployment statistic instead of thriving in your carer.

Youth are advised to select an apprenticeship based on their future career goals. Don’t assume that a licensed trade is the easiest way to secure jobs. Chances are high that better opportunities await if you start your own business. Build a business by freelancing for other companies and find gig projects in your neighbourhood.

Offer budget services to women-led households and schools so that they will start recommending you to others.

How long do apprenticeships typically take?

It usually takes three to four years to achieve artisan status, after which employment is generally guaranteed should the parties agree to a continued employment relationship.

How do apprenticeships work?

A formal contract is signed between the apprentice and the pre-approved employer for the duration of the apprenticeship. The apprentice is viewed as a company employee and works for the agreed time to gain the skills and experience necessary to work in the industry. This is done in conjunction with a training component often facilitated by a TVET college.

Employers advertise in newspapers or place adverts in the city, town or community centres. Apprentices entering apprenticeships should at least be 15 years of age. A formal contract is signed between the apprentice and the pre-approved employer for the duration of the apprenticeship.

Employment after qualifying as an artisan is mainly guaranteed unless the contract is mutually ended. Enquire at your nearest Labour Centre concerning the apprenticeship requirements per sector. Labour Centres Contacts

Who is eligible to be on an Apprenticeship?

Anybody who wants to enter a listed trade is eligible for an apprenticeship. Once you sign the apprenticeship contract, you become employed as an apprentice.

What are the benefits of an apprenticeship?

For the apprentice, the apprenticeship programme assures their ability in the trade through practical skills and experience; it also encourages further education and training opportunities.

For the employer, apprenticeships develop and provide training in the skills required within the organisation. Hosting apprenticeship programmes can also increase productivity, efficiency and ultimately profitability of a business enterprise.

If you’ve just completed an apprenticeship, send the employer and training provider a thank you letter using this template.

What qualification will I leave with?

The certificate issued is trade-specific and is known as an Artisan Certificate of Competence. You will complete a Nated or “N” course recognised on the NQF. Also, to qualify as an artisan in a listed trade, you will need to pass a trade test.

Who provides the education and training component of the qualification?

Education and training is provided by public FET colleges, and in the case of a listed trade, must culminate in a trade test by an accredited trade test centre (public or private).

Bogus Operators Offering Apprenticeships

Youth applying for apprenticeships must beware of bogus operators:

  1. Fraudulent activities: Bogus operators are often involved in fraudulent activities, such as misrepresenting the nature of the program, using fake websites or fake companies, or collecting money in exchange for fake offers of employment.
  2. No actual training: In many cases, the training and apprenticeships offered by these bogus operators are not legitimate, and they provide no actual training or experience. This means that those who participate in these programs will not receive the skills and education that they need to succeed in their chosen careers.
  3. Financial loss: Bogus operators may ask for money in exchange for a learnership or apprenticeship, which can result in financial loss for the learner.
  4. Wasted time: Participating in a bogus program is a waste of time, as you will not receive the benefits and opportunities that come with a legitimate apprenticeship.

Carefully research the companies and programs you are interested in, and use caution when providing personal information or paying any fees. Verify the legitimacy of the program through reliable sources, such as government websites or professional organizations in their field.

Legislation Related to Apprenticeship Implementation

  • Workplace-Based Learning Programmes Agreement Regulations
  • Sectoral Determination Number 5 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act
  • Skills Development Act
  • Skills Development Levies Act
  • Minimum Wage Act

More Career Posts for Trades

Two Apprenticeship Cover Letter Templates

Apply for an Apprenticeship

Keep Climbing has prepared customised cover letters for electricians and millwrights for you.

Apprentice Cover Letter Template

Dear [Hiring Manager],

I am excited to apply for the apprenticeship position that you have advertised. As a young person with limited work experience, I am eager to take advantage of this opportunity to gain the skills and experience necessary to succeed in my chosen career. I am confident that my enthusiasm, determination, and willingness to learn make me an excellent candidate for this role.

While I may not have much work experience, I am a quick learner, and I am passionate about the industry. I have been following industry news and developments for some time and am eager to take my first steps in a career in [insert industry or field here]. I am excited to work under the guidance of experienced professionals, and I believe that the apprenticeship program would be the perfect platform to jumpstart my career.

I am a hardworking, detail-oriented individual who takes pride in my work. I am always willing to go the extra mile to ensure that tasks are completed to the best of my abilities. Additionally, I am a great team player, and I understand the importance of working collaboratively to achieve common goals.

I am eager to put my skills and passion to work, and I am excited about the possibility of joining your team. Thank you for considering my application, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.


[Your Name]


Apprentice Cover Letter Example

Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name],

I am writing to express my strong interest in the apprenticeship program offered by [Company Name]. As a recent high school graduate with limited work experience, I am eager to gain hands-on experience and develop my skills within a professional setting. The opportunity to work and learn from experts in the field is exactly what I need to kickstart my career and make a positive impact on the world.

I am confident that I possess the traits and qualities that will make me a valuable asset to your team. I am highly motivated, enthusiastic, and eager to learn. I am also a quick learner and have a strong work ethic, as evidenced by my academic performance and involvement in extracurricular activities. Additionally, I possess excellent communication and teamwork skills, which I believe are essential in any work environment.

While I may not have extensive work experience, I am excited to bring my positive attitude and willingness to learn to the apprenticeship program. I am eager to gain knowledge and experience in my chosen field and contribute to the success of the team. I am committed to putting in the hard work and dedication required to achieve my goals and make the most out of this opportunity.

Thank you for considering my application. I would be honoured to have the opportunity to discuss my application with you further and demonstrate my commitment to the program. I look forward to hearing from you soon.


[Your Name]

Good luck writing, make it exciting! 😉

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