What is a Learnership? How SETA Learnerships Work In South Africa



Learnerships are becoming a popular way to develop skills and gain real work experience in the labour market. What is a Learnership? How does a Learnership work? We have the answers to your questions.



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

In South Africa, a learnership is a specific type of work-based learning program that combines theoretical classroom-based training with practical on-the-job experience. It is designed to provide individuals with the opportunity to acquire new skills and gain work experience in a particular industry or field.

Learnerships are regulated and governed by the Skills Development Act of 1998 and the Skills Development Levies Act of 1999. These programs are intended to address the skills shortage in various industries and to empower individuals with the necessary knowledge and experience to increase their employability.

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.”

What Are The Benefits Of A Learnership

Learnership south africa

Workplace Experience

Learnerships provide participants with practical, on-the-job training, allowing them to gain valuable work experience in their chosen field. This hands-on experience enhances their employability and gives them a competitive edge in the job market.

Industry-Specific Skills

Learnerships are designed to provide industry-specific skills and knowledge. Participants receive training that aligns with the requirements and demands of the particular sector, equipping them with relevant skills and expertise.

Recognized Qualifications

Learnerships combine theoretical learning with practical training, leading to nationally recognized qualifications upon successful completion. These qualifications validate the learners' skills and enhance their prospects for career advancement.

Increased Employability

Learnerships enhance participants' employability by equipping them with industry-relevant skills, practical experience, and recognized qualifications. This makes them more attractive to potential employers and increases their chances of securing employment.

Networking Opportunities

During a Learnership, participants have the opportunity to network with professionals, mentors, and other learners in their field. These connections can be valuable for future job prospects, mentorship, and professional development.

Financial Support

In some cases, learners may receive a stipend or allowance during their Learnership to cover their living expenses. This financial support can be especially beneficial for individuals who may not have the means to pursue formal education or training.

Career Advancement

Completing a Learnership can open doors for career advancement within a specific industry. Participants who excel in their roles may be offered permanent employment by the company or be sought after by other employers within the sector.

Personal Development

Learnerships not only focus on technical skills but also contribute to personal development. Participants learn essential workplace skills such as communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and time management, which are valuable in any professional setting.

Bridging the Gap between Education and Employment

Learnerships help bridge the gap between education and employment by providing practical training and experience to individuals who may have theoretical knowledge but lack work-related skills. This helps to address the skills shortage and improve the transition from education to the workforce.

Government Support

The South African government encourages Learnerships as part of its commitment to youth empowerment and skills development. As a result, there are various incentives, grants, and tax benefits available to companies that participate in Learnership programs, creating additional opportunities for learners.

Learnership Video

For more insights watch this video from the Safety and Security Seta.

Characteristics of a learnership in South Africa include

Collaboration: Learnerships involve a partnership between employers, training providers, and the learners themselves. Employers provide the workplace experience, while accredited training providers deliver the theoretical training component.

Duration: Learnerships typically last for a specified period, combining both classroom training and practical work experience. The duration can vary depending on the program and the industry, but they usually last between 12 and 24 months.

Qualifications: Successful completion of a learnership leads to a nationally recognized qualification, such as a certificate or diploma, registered on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). The qualification earned depends on the specific learnership program and the level of study.

Stipend: Learnerships often include a stipend or allowance provided to learners to cover their basic expenses during the learning period. The stipend amount varies depending on the program and the employer.

Eligibility: Learnerships are available to individuals of various ages and educational backgrounds. Some learnerships may have specific entry requirements, while others may be open to individuals with little to no prior work experience.

Employment opportunities: Although completion of a learnership does not guarantee employment, it does enhance learners' chances of securing permanent employment within the industry in which they completed the learnership. Many employers use learnerships as a way to identify potential employees for their organisations.

Support: Learnerships are structured to provide support and guidance to learners throughout the program. Employers and training providers are responsible for assisting learners in their development and understanding of the work environment.

Learnerships are offered in various sectors, including but not limited to engineering, information technology, hospitality, retail, healthcare, and finance. These programs play a crucial role in South Africa's efforts to address unemployment and bridge the skills gap by providing individuals with the necessary skills and experience to contribute meaningfully to the workforce.

Engineering Learnership

Engineering learnerships focus on providing learners with practical and theoretical knowledge in various engineering disciplines. Some of the key areas that may be covered include:

  • Engineering principles and theory.

  • Practical skills related to specific engineering fields like electrical, mechanical, civil, or chemical engineering.
  • Workplace safety and regulations.
  • Problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
  • Computer-aided design (CAD) software training.
  • Understanding engineering drawings and specifications.
  • Use of engineering tools and equipment.

Information Technology (IT) Learnership

IT learnerships aim to equip learners with the necessary skills to work in the rapidly evolving field of information technology. Some of the topics that may be covered include:

  • Fundamentals of computer hardware and software.
  • Operating systems and networking concepts.
  • Programming languages and coding skills.
  • Web development and design.
  • Database management and SQL.
  • Cybersecurity and data protection.
  • IT project management.
  • Troubleshooting and technical support.

Hospitality Learnership

Hospitality learnerships focus on training learners for roles in the hospitality industry, such as hotels, restaurants, and tourism. Topics covered in a hospitality learnership may include:

  • Customer service and communication skills.
  • Food and beverage preparation and service.
  • Housekeeping and room management.
  • Front office operations and reservations.
  • Health and safety standards in hospitality.
  • Event planning and management.
  • Cultural awareness and etiquette in the hospitality sector.

Retail Learnership

Retail learnerships are designed to prepare learners for careers in the retail industry. Some of the areas covered in a retail learnership may include:

  • Retail sales techniques and customer service.
  • Merchandising and inventory management.
  • Point-of-sale (POS) systems and cashier training.
  • Store operations and management.
  • Marketing and promotional strategies in retail.
  • Workplace ethics and professionalism.

Healthcare Learnership

Healthcare learnerships are geared towards providing learners with the necessary skills to work in healthcare settings such as hospitals, clinics, and medical practices. Topics covered may include:

  • Basic medical terminology and anatomy.
  • Patient care and nursing skills.
  • Medical administration and record-keeping.
  • Infection control and hygiene practices.
  • First aid and emergency response.
  • Medical equipment operation and maintenance.
  • Ethical and legal considerations in healthcare.

Finance Learnership

Finance learnerships aim to develop learners' understanding of financial principles and processes. Topics covered may include:

  • Financial accounting principles and practices.
  • Budgeting and financial planning.
  • Taxation laws and procedures.
  • Investment and portfolio management.
  • Banking and financial services.
  • Financial analysis and reporting.
  • Risk management and compliance.

It's important to note that the specific content and duration of learnerships in each sector may vary depending on the accredited training provider and the requirements of the industry. Learnerships are designed to be comprehensive, offering both theoretical knowledge and practical experience to ensure learners are well-prepared for employment in their chosen fields.

Careers Portal brings you the latest learnerships available whether that be learnerships available in Gauteng. learnerships available in Cape Town or learnerships at Transnet, they have it all. 

Suggested Article:

Employee applying for a SETA learnership using laptop

The Sector Education and Training Authority's primary function is to increase the skills of employees and work-seekers through learnerships, skills programmes, internships, and apprenticeships. 





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