Learnerships provide the employer and employee with a good mix of opportunity and skills development, whereby the employer trains people into the kind of workers they require, with the skills they need, while at the same time people gain highly desirable skills for work opportunities.
A learnership programme leads to an NQF registered qualification and consists of a theoretical course as well as practical training, which is done at the workplace.
Theory is studied online. Learners will receive access to the SpecCon e-Learning platform, along with a PDF version of the manuals. This includes 12 monthly contact sessions, 1 per month, conducted via webinar.
Every unit standard includes a formative assessment. Formative assessments are used to ensure that the learner understands the theoretical components and that the learner is ready for the summative assessments. Formative assessments can be, for example, a written report or a case study or a role play scenario to test the learner’s application of the learning material. The reports and evidence of the role play (checklist, attendance register etc.) must be printed and placed in the Portfolio of Evidence (POE) file. The documents must also be emailed to SpecCon for the assessor and moderator to grade the assessment.
When the assessor and moderator have marked the evidence, then the learner will be allowed to complete the summative assessments.
Summative assessments include an online examination and practical workplace components.
The examination must be done in the presence of a facilitator. The facilitator can be an employee of the company, but must be approved by SpecCon. The facilitator will have a password to open the examination for the learner on the day of the examination. Every unit standard has an associated examination.
The practical workplace components are practical work that must be completed in the workplace and relevant reports must be submitted. The reports must be printed and places in the proof of evidence (POE) file. The documents must also be emailed to SpecCon for the assessor and moderator to mark the assessment(s).
When the assessor and moderator have marked the evidence, and the learner has passed the examination, the unit standard will be completed.
A logbook must also be kept for practical application of the theory. A learnership is 30% theory and 70% practical.
Learnerships can be undertaken either by employed staff or be offered to unemployed people as a means of helping them gain skills and work experience.
Current employees’ contracts of employment will not be affected by the agreement. Employees will only have to sign a learnership agreement.
Unemployed people must sign both the learnership agreement and an employment contract with the host employer. The employment contract is only for the period of learnership.
Employers who provide training and work experience to unemployed people through a learnership are under no obligation to offer the qualified learner permanent employment once the training is completed. Employers can however, earn an additional 5 bonus points on their BEE scorecard if all of your unemployed learners become gainfully employed at the end of the learnership.
All unemployed people selected for a learnership programme will be paid a learner allowance by the employer. This allowance is not a salary, but is intended to cover the cost of the learner’s expenses, such as travel and meals.
Employers can benefit from financial incentives (SARS) and may access funding from respective SETAs. Organizations will also optimize their B-BBEE compliance by aligning training objectives and addressing skills shortages through participation.
Skills development has recently been elevated to a priority element of the B-BBEE Scorecard providing companies with opportunities to earn 30 vital points.
(From 2015, companies must achieve 40% of the targeted points, or the company drops by 1 BEE level).
Section 12H of the Income Tax Act allows an employer to claim a “learnership allowance”or tax rebate per learnership. The allowance is applicable to registered learnership agreements entered into or completed during a year of assessment.
The value of the incentive is currently R20 000 (higher skilled learners) and R40 000 (lesser skilled learners) on commencement and the same amount again on completion of the learnership.
There is an additional allowance of R20 000 if the learner is a person with a disability.
SETAs also offer rebates and grants.