What is a Learnership?

A learnership is a work based learning programme that leads to an NQF registered qualification. Learnerships are directly related to an occupation or field of work, for example, electrical engineering, hairdressing or project management.

Learnerships are managed by Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs). They were introduced by government to help skill learners and to prepare them for the workplace.

Learnership programmes can help you to gain the necessary skills and workplace experience that will open up better employment or self-employment opportunities.

Learnerships are based on legally binding agreement between an employer, a learner and a Training Provider. This agreement is intended to spell out the tasks and duties of the employer, the learner and the Training Provider. It is designed to ensure the quality of the training and to protect the interests of each party.

A learnership requires that a learner enter into a fixed term employment contract with the company whilst studying towards a qualification registered on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF), which is in line with the learnership (the cost of the qualification falls to the Company). Once the qualification is completed, the learnership will also end.

Why are learnerships important?

Learnerships promote access to education and training, as they allow you to work and get started on your career while also studying for an educational qualification.

SETAs oversee learnerships and ensure that they offer qualifications related to a specific occupation or sector of the economy. All 21 SETAs have developed NQF-aligned programmes that will help you gain recognised qualifications while getting on-the-job experience.

SETAs manage the registration of learnerships in order to meet the skills development needs across the sectors.

How do learnerships work?

Learnerships require you to complete a theoretical course as well as practical training, which is done at a workplace, in order to graduate. The workplace component of the qualification involves hands-on, practical learning under the guidance of a mentor, while the theoretical component is provided by an education and training provider. Together they form an integrated and comprehensive learning programme.

Top Tip: The number of credits needed to graduate varies from learnership to learnership, so make sur e that you understand the minimum requirements if you want to complete a learnership. Find out from the relevant SETA.

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