Benefits of Learnerships

Learnerships are the buzz-word at the moment. Many companies are using this approach to improve skills in their own organisation and also to extend this opportunity to unemployed people. The government requires employers to spend a certain portion of their salary bill on social development and Learnerships provide an excellent avenue to add value to your business whilst addressing the real problem of skills shortages in our country.
The aim of this blog is to provide employers and potential employee’s information about Learnerships and how they can benefit from them. I have provided answers to some common questions around Learnerships.


“A learnership is a work based learning programme that leads to an NQF registered qualification.” This from the SAQ website. Learnerships are directly related to an occupation or field of work.

A learnership programme means that a learner studies theory and does practical assignments in the workplace, this enhances learning and exposure to a work environment.

Learnerships are managed/registered 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 a 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.” SAQA.


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.


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.


Learnerships are available for young people who have completed school, college or learning at other training institutions. Unemployed South Africans can only participate in a learnership if there is an employer prepared to provide the required work experience.


Different learnerships have different entry requirements. We recommend that you contact the provider of the learnership for full details on the specific requirements for the learnership of your choice.
For many learnerships, the minimum entry requirement is a National Senior Certificate or National Certificate. You can get assistance from service providers if you need to verify your qualification entry requirement.


  • Better employment opportunities after completing a learnership;
  • You have a fixed-term employment contract for the duration of the learnership;
  • Learnerships improve on the job performance so you are able to do tasks relevant to the job;
  • You obtain a nationally-recognised qualification that is relevant to the sector; and
  • You earn a learner allowance for the duration of the learnership. That varies from one company to the next.


Learnerships will last as long as it takes to complete the qualification. This means that if the duration of the qualification is 1-2 years, then the learnership will last for that period of time. Also, the learnership period depends on the service provider structure. Most service providers run a learnership for 12 months, that period includes the classroom work and practical work.


During the learnership, learners will be required to complete assignments, tasks and practical tests and projects. They will be formally assessed in the classroom and workplace.
If all these assignments are completed successfully, they will be awarded an NQF-registered qualification that is recognised nationally. They will receive a certificate stating the qualification and the area of skill development.


Employment is not guaranteed, but once you have successfully completed your learnership, you will be in a much better position to market yourself as you will now have both work experience and theoretical training. You may also be in a better position to start your own business and generate an income that way.


Yes, a learnership can be terminated under certain circumstances. An employer can terminate the contract of a learnership if:

  • The duration specified in the learnership agreement has expired;
  • The employer and learner have agreed in writing to terminate the learnership agreement, or if there is no such agreement, the SETA that registered the agreement approves the termination; or
  • The learner is fairly dismissed for a reason related to the learner’s conduct or capacity as an employee.


  • Learnershipsare developed by the industry for the industry, in consultation with all relevant stakeholders, so the learning programme and qualification of the Learners are relevant to the specific occupation.
  • Learnerships create an opportunity for companies to collaborate with training providers to customise learning programmes to meet specific workplace needs.
  • Learnerships improved skills and work performance. Because employees will be acquiring new knowledge and skills and applying these in the workplace, companies will be raising the skills levels of employees while improving work performance.
  • Productivity improvement as employees will have the skills and knowledge required.
  • Less supervision time because employees have been exposed to the work environment and understands the processes already.
  • Employees will see the learnership as an investment in their future, and they will be more likely to give back to the organization by being loyal and
  • As training programmes that combinetheory and relevant practical elements, Learnerships create skilled people who.
  • By entering into a learnership with unemployed people, companies contribute to South Africa’s competitiveness.
  • The Government offers tax incentives to companies entering into learnerships and the SETA’s offer grants.
  • Companies can earn BEE points for learneships.
  • Employers will be able to select employees from a wider poolof appropriately qualified workers who have developed skills that are relevant to the company’s specific work context.
  • Increased grant disbursementsfrom Skills Levy contributions. Many SETAs offer Learnership grants ranging from R 4 000 – R 40 000 per learner. However the grants are subject to availability and are offered on a first come, first serve basis on the condition that the Learnership address a scarce skills in the sector, so you will need to plan ahead and get your grant application in to the SETA as early as possible to stand a chance of getting the additional help.
  • Tax Incentives: SARS offers companies tax incentivesfor participating in Learnerships. In addition to claiming Learnership Discretionary grants from a SETA, an employer can also claim a tax incentive when an employer registers a Learnership agreement with a SETA.
  • If a learner goes to another employer while he is still doing his Learnership and the Learnership is carried on, linked to that employer’s trade, the new employer claims the Learnership for the rest of the year. The calculation thereof can be advised by the SETA.


The delegate below works in a Warehouse. He has work experience but no formal qualification for the trade he is in. Here are his responses to post training interview after completing a Warehouse and Stock Learnership NLRD83986

Personal Details:

Name: Lawrence Modise

Occupation: Stock controller

Company: Kemtek Imaging Systems

Learnership Completed: Warehouse and Stock NLRD83986

Q: Satisfaction level from 1-5

A: 5

Q: What is your Reason?

A: was happy with the information provided, and the help of the Facilitators.

Q: Do you have any comments on the subjects?

A: It was a challenge to learn about understanding HIV/Aids in the workplace. And the Mathematics subjects were a bit tough but I did my best and practised harder. Stock control – The subject was easier for me as I work with stock every day.

Q: Was the program useful to you? And what did you learn?

A: I learnt How to save space, to save money for organisation, motivate people who are HIV/AIDS, conduct a formal and informal meeting, solve staff problems and lastly how to keep records

Q: Any suggestions for improvement?

A: The POE (Portfolio of Evidence) has a lot of work, but I managed to do it at home as well.

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