How does a learnership work?

Learnerships are becoming a popular way to develop skills and gain real work experience in the labour market.

In their Career Guidance video the Safety and Security Skills Education Training Authority (SaSSeta) outlines the different role players in a learnership programme and how they work together to make learnerships effective.

What is a learnership?

A learnership can be described as a training programme that consists of both theoretical and practical elements. Training is done over a predetermined period for the purpose of developing specific skills or competencies. “A learnership should lead to a qualification consisting of unit standards and levels registered by the South African Qualifications Authority.”

There are three major role players involved in a learnership:

The Learner

Before the learnership can begin a suitable candidate must be selected for the position. Every learnership will have requirements that the learner must meet in order to qualify for the opportunity. This can include factors like prior education or experience in the field.

The Employer

The employer is responsible for providing the work experience part of the learnership. Learners will receive training, guidance and mentoring in order to understand and carry out their roles in the organisation for the duration of their employment.

The Training Provider

The training provider “provides theoretical or institutional training to the learner as per the qualification.” This is similar to traditional learning institutions and is generally done in a classroom setting. Learners will typically begin with the theoretical learning which they will later apply during their practical work experience.

Once the learner has been selected all three parties will enter into a learnership agreement. This is a contract for a specific period that aims to ensure commitment to the programme from all role players. “iI outlines the rights and responsibilities of each of the three stakeholders.”

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