Training and development in South Africa has reached a point where it is more dynamic than it has ever been. The restructuring and merging of tertiary institutions is echoed by the review of apprenticeships – with learnerships as the result.
Learnerships are the new buzzword for training courses. A dynamic way of teaching, the learnerships offer candidates an opportunity to learn in a real work environment – rather than having a purely academic approach to learning. An added benefit of this is that the candidate gains valuable work experience while training.
Learnerships are designed to take place over a period of one to three years, and is structured to include aspects of formal education and practical training.
The learnership entails intense planning and facilitation from both the employer and the relevant Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA). A programme needs to be implemented wherein the employee is trained under a mentor, and has other trainers and assessors available at all times.
The Learnership programme has been slow to be implemented, but many companies have grasped the concept – and shown how beneficial learnerships can be if they are afforded the necessary time and effort.
Benefits to the Employer:
The contract between employee and employer is for a fixed term, and the employer is under no obligation to hire the candidate if he does not wish to. This way the employer can view the candidate in the work environment, and can view how he/she interacts with other employees, how punctual they are, how seriously they take their work, and the like, and decide if the candidate fits the criteria set by the company. Learnerships also offer companies an opportunity to fulfil their gender and race equity targets.
Tax rebates are offered by government in order to motivate companies to implement learnerships.
The rebate offered is R37 500 per learner seen through to qualification by the company. Municipalities and government departments are excluded as they do not pay company tax This training policy also applies to existing employees, who can be upskilled.
The company can be assured of the quality of the candidate they employ due to the stringent assessment and certification of the candidates.
Learnerships have added to the idea of a traditional apprenticeship by allowing workers to train in fields such as Information Technology and Banking instead of only artisan’s fields. Learnerships offer a holistic approach to training – teaching the learner life skills coupled with practical and theory.
For further information, you can contact the LGSETA ( www.lgseta.co.za