The Department of Higher Education and Training is responsible for ensuring that the Learnership system meets the objectives of the Skills Development Act (No 97 of 1998). The Department will conduct both pre- and post-implementation evaluation systems these requirements:
1. Increasing employment levels
To what extent will levels of employment be increased?
2. Expanding economic sector boundaries
To what extent will economic sector boundaries be expanded to include both formal and non-formal employment e.g. SMMEs; self-employment; job-creation schemes etc.?
2. Improving access to education and skills development
To what extent will access to education and skills development be expanded?
3. Targeting the most vulnerable groups
To what extent will the most vulnerable groups in our society benefit in terms of access to education and skills development as well as access to employment opportunities?
4. Establishing higher level skills
To what extent will higher level skills be achieved?
5. Encouraging innovation
To what extent will higher levels of innovation be achieved, in all areas of the economic sector?
6. Supporting infrastructure development in South Africa
To what extent will infrastructural development be supported in the country?
7. Promoting health and safety in the labour market
To what extent will health and safety be improved in the labour market?
Education and training considerations
As mentioned above, the Learnership programmes should be based on the principles outlined in the Green Paper on Skills Development. When deciding about the registration of Learnerships, the following issues will be taken into account:
1. Co-operation and partnerships
Does the Learnership engender co-operation and partnerships between employers, education and training providers and the state?
2. Diversification of occupations
Is the range of occupations in which the Learnerships are being offered wider than the traditional blue-collar trades?
3. Variety of employment environments
Does the Learnership enable learners to move across a variety of employment environments during the Learnership (so that they can acquire an adequate spectrum of structured work experience and so that smaller employers can participate)?
4. Increased participation of individuals in Learnerships
Does the Learnership promote increased participation of individuals in accredited vocational education and training by demonstrating real links to employment or self-employment after qualification?
5. Integration of education and training with workplace experience
Does the design of the Learnership combine relevant education and training with workplace experience in ways that optimise learning and assessment?
6. Lifelong learning
Does the Learnership equip learners to continue learning independently? Learn how to learn.
Is the learning programme of a high standard and how will it be continuously improved and updated?
Meeting SAQA requirements
Does the Learnership meet the SAQA requirements in constructing qualifications?
Articulating the outcomes
Does it articulate the outcomes to be achieved?
Identifying the NQF band
Does it identify the NQF band in which the Learnership is located and outcomes at which the qualifications are pitched?
Meeting all the outcomes
Does it articulate how all the outcomes of the qualification will be met through the different components of the qualification?
Providers need to consider the following before registering a Learnership:
Structured work component
Does it establish what will be achieved through structured work experience and how?
Structured learning component
Does it establish what will be achieved through structured learning and how?
Does it establish what will be achieved through an integrated and planned structure and how?
Does it indicate how assessment will be conducted and managed?
The cost implications, which will be addressed when a Learnership is considered for registration, are:
Sustainability and cost-efficiency
Are the learning programmes cost-effective and sustainable?
Does the application show the cost implications for the Learnership and how these are arrived at?
Does it identify measures taken to keep costs down?
These are some of the issues, which the Department of Higher Education and Training
considers when determining whether or not a Learnership submitted by a SETA is acceptable and should be registered. The development of comprehensive registration criteria will be an unfolding process that runs in parallel with the development and implementation of the system.
There are a number of things that need to be checked periodically, to assess the effectiveness of the Learnership system. The primary aims of this post-implementation evaluation is the evaluation of the following outcomes:
1. whether or not productivity levels are being increased in industry
2. whether or not levels of employment and employability are being increased
3. whether or not higher levels of innovations are being achieved in industry
Other factors that will ensure that the aims of the Skills Development Act are being achieved will be added to the post-evaluation as the system develops.