Understanding the Discretionary Grant

In terms of the Skills Development Regulation, a Discretionary Grant is a grant paid to applicants at the discretion of the Safety & Security Sector Education and Training Authority (SASSETA), for Skills Development Projects, linked to scarce and critical skills, in the Safety and Security Sector. Availability of projects and grants is subject to board discretion and may be reduced, withdrawn or cancelled, upon informing the industry of SASSETAs intention to do so.

Discretionary Grants are aimed at encouraging stakeholders to contribute towards skills development. The bulk of discretional funding is directed at the provision of PIVOTAL (professional, vocational, technical and academic learning) programmes that result in qualifications or part qualification on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) or learning programmes, which comprise the following:

  • • Learnerships
  • • Work Integrated Learning
  • • Internships
  • • Bursaries
  • • Skills programmes

The Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) makes these funds available during a window period in which it accepts applications from the employers. The opening of this window is advertised on the SETA website, national and community radio stations, and national newspapers.

SETA also allocates discretionary funding to non-PIVOTAL programmes. Non-Pivotal Programmes are programmes which do not lead to credit bearing qualifications, however address key objectives and priorities of the SETA. Non-Pivotal programmes include Career Guidance and Sector Conferences.

The Purpose of the Discretionary Grants
• For the SETA to implement the Sector Skills Plan
• For the SETA to achieve its objectives in relation to the development of the sector
• For the SETA to address the Scarce and Critical Skills in the sector

Discretionary Grants are allocated at the sole discretion of the SETA depending on the availability of funds, adherence to specific criteria as per the SETA Discretionary Grants Policy and Guidelines, as well as approval from the SETA Accounting Authority.

Due to the limited funding, SASSETA has carefully developed guidelines to provide wide information regarding the management of the expenditure of these funds.


A Discretionary Grant may be paid to the following applicants
Employers within the jurisdiction of SASSETA who are up-to-date with the levy payments - including those exempted in terms of the SDLA –
Discretionary grants are available to employers, training providers and workers and the unemployed
Accredited Education and Training Providers and emerging training providers within the SASSETA sector.
Associations or organizations that meet the criteria for the payment of such a grant.
An employer, if the employer has submitted an application for a discretionary grant in the form determined by the SETA
If the employer has submitted an application for a discretionary grant in the form determined by the SETA for learning programmes registered in terms of regulation 2 of the learnership regulations 2001 by other SETA.

Applicants should submit their Discretionary Grant application/s using the prescribed SASSETA Discretionary Grant Application Form. These forms are available on SASETA’s website once Requests for Proposals are called for.

Applications for Discretionary Grants must be made and approved by SASSETA before any training or other activity related to the skills development project applied for can commence. The Discretionary Grant applications must be submitted to SASSETA office by the date specified in the Request for Proposals.

By Akhona Valashiya