The management and co-ordination of learnerships is central to the success of their implementation.
The critical management and co-ordination functions are located within various government departments and sectoral institutions. The relationship between these two major sets of role players is mediated through policy and implementation mechanisms, which include policy frameworks and regulations (including legislation) and funding and disbursement mechanisms.
The theoretical education and skills training is coordinated between education and training providers as well as employers or a range of employers.
Learnership is credit-based qualifications consisting of Core, Fundamentals and Electives. Learnership Programme requires administrative and recording the achievement of competencies.
There are three key areas of management of learnerships that can be identified, namely:
- the management of providers and learners
- the management of learnerships and the development of quality in provision
- the management of the Learnership system vis-à-vis the meeting of the objectives of the Skills Development Act (No 97 of 1998)
The purpose of the Learnership Agreement is to provide a legally binding description of the rights and responsibilities of each party in relation to other parties. It therefore serves as the mechanism through which appropriate labour relations are maintained.
As the Skills Development Act (No 97 of 1998) requires the agreement to be registered with the relevant SETA, it is imperative that a uniform framework governs the nature of the agreement. The following issues need to be addressed by the agreement:
- rights and obligations of parties (learner, employer, registered training provider and SETA)
- entry requirements with respect to age, knowledge assumed to be in place, physical and mental requirements
- the period within which learnerships must be registered at the relevant SETA
- the period and terms of termination of the agreement, as well as variations to the agreement must be clearly stipulated
- parents of learners younger than 15 years, are required to sign the agreement on behalf of their children.
All Learnership Agreements will be binding once they have been registered with the relevant SETA which must be reported, to the Department of Higher Education and Training. This record should be a tabulation of the following information:
- the number of applications received per occupational area and levels in one calendar year
- the categories of learnerships offered and their totals
- Equity information per occupational area
- the cost per Learnership for each occupational area
The Skills Development Act (No 97 of 1998, Section 18 (2)) requires that “the employer and the learner must enter into a contract of employment”. This applies to unemployed learner
The employment contract for the learner is a mechanism for formalizing the terms and conditions of employment for the duration of the programme and works as a guide for conflict resolution.
- Learners on Learnership Programme are protected by the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (No 75 of 1997).
Quality assurance (Refer ETQA page)
A second part of the management of providers will be met through the quality assurance functions that the SETA will use to monitor providers. These will ensure that the providers continuously improve their provision and that a quality system is developed.
The Department of Higher Education and Training is responsible for ensuring the development and management of the Learnership system.
The key instruments that will be used for managing the system will be the criteria for registering learnerships, and the post-implementation evaluation that will be administered periodically. The other important aspect of managing the Learnership system will be through a comprehensive funding system.