In the past, a student might go to school and get their education, only to have to find their bearings once they enter the working world. Theory is a valuable vehicle for any student to gain the knowledge they need. But what about hands-on training? Many workplaces in South Africa do offer training, but unfortunately do not supply the employee with the answers they need for full understanding.
In South Africa, students are able to gain the full circle of understanding by entering into learnership programs. Combining theory and practice, learnerships allow the student to get the hands-on experience they need to completely understand all facets of a job.
What Makes Learnerships Unique
One thing that sets learnerships apart is that they rely on a student’s ability to apply the knowledge they’ve learned in order to determine that student’s success. And this application of knowledge is assessed at several stages throughout the learnership, which gives the employer a clear picture of just how well a student is assimilating the training they receive. Learnerships are not limited to people of a particular age group. Instead, this opportunity is available to anyone between the ages of 16 and 60.
Both core and basic skills are developed in a learnership program. These skills include numeracy, literacy and IT. In addition, the learnership is not limited to new employees alone; those seasoned employees looking to update their current skill set are also eligible to participate in learnership programs.
In South Africa there exists a great shortage in skills development. This shortage does little to benefit the local economy, which requires those with proven business skills. But when learnerships are introduced, the opportunity is created to not only receive the training needed to acquire business skills, but also complete school courses at the same time. In this way, students can obtain the theoretical side of study as they fill in the gaps with practical training.
How Learnership Agreements Work
Companies of every size can offer a learnership program to interested parties. Whether in the private or public sector, a company can also enter into a joint learnership between companies to offer an even greater degree of educational value.
The learnership agreement is forged between one or more companies, a training provider and an individual. The agreement will contain details about how much time will be devoted to the learnership program, and how much will be set aside for academic study.
As far as costs are concerned, the learnership agreement will also detail specific amounts that an employer will provide the individual for both on and off-site costs. Once completed and signed, this contract is then registered with two organizations: the Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETA), and the Department of Labour (DoL). The latter will then produce a learnership number which is then passed along to the participant. These steps ensure that all learnerships are legal and recognized by the National Qualifications Framework (NQF).
Benefits To Employers
Those employers who choose to offer learnership programmes can often end up being large contributors to talent pools from which larger corporations draw. This can lead to added recognition for those companies offering the programmes.
Companies can also receive financial incentives for offering learnerships. These incentives are presented in the form of grants, and are given by one of several existing Sector Education and Training Authorities, or SETAs. The employer must apply for the grant, which can offset some costs, such as how much it will cost to offer the learnership.
In general terms, learnerships can offer participants a high degree of success when seen through to completion. As well, these programs are being used to help the government meet the goals it has set for the percentage of South African citizens to be involved in a structured learning process.
- Skills Portal
Guest author Rina Misor writes on a number of topics related to learnership and bursaries. She recommends South Africa Learnerships and Jobs as a resource for young people seeking a learnership.