The establishment and design of learnerships should aim to achieve the outcomes of labour market challenges such as:
These should be based on the principles underpinning the NQF. These principles are:
1. Co-operation and partnerships
The design and implementation of learnerships should involve co-operation and partnerships between employers, education and training providers and the state
Learnerships must be responsive to a demonstrable social or economic need
4. Variety of employment contexts
Learnerships should be offered in a wider range of occupations and provide a broad range of educational levels, from schooling through further education and to higher education levels
Learnerships should include a variety of employment contexts, i.e.
- provide opportunities for a learner to acquire a broader spectrum of structured work experience;
- it will also allow employers, who would otherwise not be able to participate, to offer the full spectrum of experience required for an occupation
5. Increased participation of individuals in learnerships
Learnerships should promote access to a range of learning programmes by demonstrating a real link to employment or self-employment after qualification
6. Integration of education and training with workplace experience
The design of a Learnership should combine relevant education and training with workplace experience in ways that optimises learning and assessment
7. Lifelong learning
Learnerships should equip learners to continue to learn independently. Learn how to learn.
Learning programmes must be of a high standard and be continuously improved and updated
9. Efficiency and sustainability
Learning programmes must be cost-effective and sustainable
The design of a Learnership system is the responsibility of the Department of Labour (DoL) in collaboration with other stakeholders. This system creates an enabling mechanism and environment for the establishment of Learnerships. The design of Learnerships as qualifications (including unit standards and assessment criteria) is the responsibility of SETAs. The co-ordination between SETAs and the Departments of Labour and Education is critical, therefore, for the realisation of:
Design and delivery of learning programmes
- meaningful learning packages that address the demand for integrated workplace experience and structured learning
- ETD practitioner development and support
- learner guidance and support
- SMME development and support
- skills programme development and support
To provide for integrated learning programmes, the DoE, SETAs, employers/ enterprises and private providers must play key roles in:
Components of Learnerships
- providing the basic competencies, especially regarding the fundamental component of a qualification
- ensuring that the unit standards developed meet the criteria set by SAQA
- ensuring curriculum development and integrative assessment methodology
Learnerships consist of fundamental, core and elective components:
- Fundamental: Basic educational requirements in the Learnership would usually consist of life skills, numeracy and literacy competencies, as well as communication skills.
- Core: What the qualification is going to be based on, i.e. the core skills and knowledge required.
- Electives: Specialization in areas of the core skills and knowledge applicable in a defined work situation.
A well-developed plan will assist in the speedy registration of the Learnership. The aim is to ensure that all registration requirements are addressed in the plan. It should cover the following:
- Scope and purpose of the learnership
- Addressing the skills need
- Stakeholder analysis
- Executive summary
- Establish Learnership structure
- Identification of employers, training providers and learners
- Recruitment and selection of learners
- Project deliverables
- Process for registration of qualification by SAQA
- Curriculum development
- Quality assurance and quality management
- Marketing strategy
A strategy for ETD practitioner development (pre- and in-service) has to be jointly developed by DoL and the DoE to ensure maximum utilisation of existing resources. Support services to promote the on-going development of ETD practitioners should also be provided, to enable them to implement sustainable and economically productive Learnerships.
Registration of learnerships
The Skills Development Act (no 97 of 1998) requires that all Learnerships are registered with the Director-General of the Department of Labour, which facilitates the setting and regulation of national criteria for the establishment and registration of Learnerships.
Learnerships may be proposed be SETAs, providers or individuals – but it is SETAs which will scrutinise applications according to the set criteria and, if necessary, assist providers to meet these criteria.
Agreements and contracts
SETAs co-ordinate and regulate Learnership agreements. It has to resolve disputes which may arise in the employment of learners during Learnerships.
SETAs will provide the Director-General of Labour with a record of registered agreements, the format for which will have to be developed to ensure that relevant information about the economic participation in all sectors and levels is reflected. This will assist in analyzing trends and with the prognosis of future labour market demands as well as needs for recurrent education.
Co-ordination across SETAs
SETAs co-ordinate the delivery of Learnerships, which cut across sectors to ensure portability of knowledge and skills without sacrificing quality.
Quality assurance and quality management
The quality assurance and management functions are primarily the responsibility of SETAs, which may delegate this function to – or work in collaboration with other ETQA bodies accredited by SAQA. The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the ETQA bodies ensures quality assurance and quality management.
The quality of learnerships is assured through: (Refer ETQA page)
- appropriate assessment and accreditation of ETD practitioners
- accreditation and monitoring of providers
- accreditation of learning programmes
- monitoring of essential learner support services