Who are the major players in skills development?

The skills development sector can seem like a maize with many professionals getting lost in the mire of professional boards, authorities and representative organisations.

Even experienced professionals still get confused about the role of each entity and struggle to answer questions like, who is responsible for accreditation? What do the Seta's do? What is the difference between SAQA and the QCTO? With so many abbreviations its hard to keep track of all the stakeholders.

To help new comers and seasoned professionals we've drawn up a list of the major players in the skills development, training and education sectors and the important role these organisations play.

The South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA)

Saqa is responsible for establishing and maintaining quality within the higher education and training sector. Its is one of the authorities responsible for implementing the National Qualifications framework (NQF). The NQF is a system of classification, registration, publication and articulation of quality-assured national qualifications. By using this system Saqa ensures that individual qualifications meet the requirements established by the Department of Higher Education and Training and the relevant industry.

Sector Education & Training Authority (SETA)

There are 23 Setas, each one has a clearly defined sector and sub-sector to cover both public and private training matters. Setas have oversight of learnerships, internships, unit based skills programmes, and apprenticeships and deal with issues relating to these initiatives.

One of the primary objectives of the Seta is to collect skills levies from employers and make the money available to the sector for education and training purposes. The funds are distributed to employers and training bodies, and to learners in the form of discretionary grants and bursaries.

To find a Seta in your sector view this list


Umalusi is a quality assurance council that is responsible for setting and monitoring standards for general and further education and training in South Africa in accordance with national skills development policies. Part of Umalusi's function is to issue and verify various qualifications such as the National Senior certificate, Vocational qualifications as well as Adult Education and Training qualifications. Umalusi is also authorised to accredit private providers of education and training who want to offer tuition and assessment for qualifications.

Association for Skills Development in South Africa (ASDSA)

At its core ASDSA is a representative body for skills development professionals. Its members include skills development practitioners and skills development administrators,facilitators, assessors, moderators and training providers. Through ASDSA sponsored events and workshops members can make contributions to policy and legislation in South Africa.

Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO)

The QCTO focuses on workplace qualifications and its overall purpose is to ensure that a qualified and competent workforce is produced in South Africa. “Its role is to oversee the design, implementation, assessment and certification of occupational qualifications on the Occupational Qualifications Sub-Framework (OQSF).” -QCTO website. The QCTO is recognized as an authority in the accreditation process for service providers wanting to offer occupational qualifications.


The IEB is an independent assessment body accredited by Umalusi to administer school and adult assessments. The aim is to improve the quality of teaching and assessment, “to support and develop learners so they are better prepared for the future. “ They are recognized as an authority in assessment practices. In line with legislative requirements the IEB offers external assessments to schools registered for the National Senior Certificate, which includes Distance Education centres. The IEB offers a wide range of certificated assessments, benchmark assessments, and training products.

SA Board for Peoples Practices (SABPP)

The SABPP is the professional body for HR practitioners in South Africa. It also provides quality assurance for HR learning by accrediting academic programmes at universities.
The purpose of the HR profession is to transform, source train and retain talent and the purpose of the board is to support HR professionals in this role.
The SABPP is instrumental in regulating and professionalising the human resources function and has made huge strides in the development, implementation and auditing of National HR Standards.

Council on Higher Education(CHE)

As the name indicates the CHE is concerned with matters relating to the higher education landscape. As an executive authority in the sector the CHE advises the Minister of Higher Education and Training on aspects of higher education policy.

Some of its core aims are to develop and implement a system of quality assurance, as well as monitor and report on the state of the sector.
CHE plays a key role in promoting higher education through its permanent committee known as the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC).

Universities South Africa (USAF)

USAF represents South Africa’s public universities. The membership organisation focuses on creating a national system of higher education that meets the needs of South Africans.
The effective functioning of South African universities is a central theme of USAF which it advocates and promotes. It supports universities as a means to promote the social, cultural and economic development of the country.