The 3 Ships in Training

What 3 ships is this?

  • Learnerships : NQF registered qualification in a specific field or industry.
  • Apprenticeships : Combination of practical work, theory and workplace experience in a trade field.
  • Internships : Career specific programme during or after studies with practical experience as required.

What is a Learnership?

Learnership is work-based learning programmes that are directly aimed at a specific occupation or industry, for example business management, engineering and chemical engineering. Completing a learnership means that the learner will have an NQF registered qualification in a specific field or industry. The government introduced learnerships with the aim to improve learners and prepare them for the workplace. The various learnerships are managed by Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs), who ensure, among other things, that learnership programmes are up to standard and delivered correctly.

For the learner, the programme can assist them to gain the necessary skills and workplace experience. This in turn will give the learner access to better employment and even self-employment opportunities. The structure of a learnership is that of a legal agreement between an employer, the employee (learner) and a training provider. This legal agreement spells out the duties of each party and is done to protect the interests of each party and to ensure the quality of training. A learner is required to enter into a fixed term (12 months) employment contract with the company while studying towards a qualification that is registered on the National Qualifications Framework. The costs of this learnership programme fall to the company, this may include stipends, food, suitable venues etc.

The learnership will come to an end once the qualification is completed. Learnership programmes promote on the job training – it allows the learner to work and pursue career goals whilst gaining a qualification.

How does a learnership work?

A learnership consists of a theoretical element as well as practical hands-on training, which is done in the workplace environment. This is a requirement for a learner to graduate from the programme. The workplace component involves practical learning, in the working environment, under the supervision of a mentor while the theory is presented by a training provider.

Learnership durations and requirements may vary, and it is important to check with the relevant SETA with regards to the minimum requirements for completing a learnership before embarking on it.

Who may join a learnership?

Learners must be between 16 and 35 and must have completed school, college or fundamental learning at a training institution to be eligible for a learnership.

Unemployed South Africans can join a learnership only if a company is willing to sponsor such a programme.

What are the entry requirements?

Different learnerships have different entry requirements. The provider of the specific learnership will be able to provide more information on the requirements.

The minimum entry requirement for many of the learnerships is a National Senior Certificate or National Certificate: Vocational. There may also be more specific requirements or skills, such as computer literacy.

What are the benefits for learners?

  • Learners may have better prospects for employment after completing a learnership;
  • Learnerships provide a fixed-term contract for the duration of the training;
  • Learners see a definitely increase in job performance due to be able to perform work tasks better;
  • The learners obtains a recognised qualifications;
  • In some cases the learner may earn an allowance / stipend as part of the learnership agreement.

How much does a learnership cost?

Learnerships are generally funded by a relevant SETA or a sponsor company. The costs of learnerships vary but more information may be obtained from the relevant SETA or training provider.

Do learners get paid?

Unemployed learners must be paid a specified minimum stipend. This is necessary because unemployed learners depend on odd jobs for an income and will not remain committed to the learnership without an income.

The amount paid as a learner stipend depends on the SETA, type of learnership and the level of qualification. The allowances and conditions are agreed to with each learner before the commencement of the learnership.

How long do learnerships generally take to complete?

If the duration of the qualification is 12 months, then the learnership will last for this period of time or for as long as it takes to complete the qualification. The duration of learnerships also differ from learnership to learnership.

What will the learner need to enter into a learnership?

The first thing the learner will be provided is a Learnership Agreement. This is an agreement signed by the learner, the organisation employing him or her, and the training provider offering training. This agreement clearly outlines the rights and responsibilities of all three parties.

The second is an employment contract which the learners signs with the employer and it is only valid for the period of the learnership programme.

Upon completing a learnership, employment is not guaranteed for the learner, but will be in a more favourable position to be given employment or to start his or her own business.

Can learnerships be terminated?

    The employer can terminate the contract of a learnership if:
  • The learnership duration as set out in the agreement has expired;
  • The employer and learner has agreed to terminating the learnership; or
  • The learner’s conduct results in a fair dismissal.

What is an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships are a combination of practical work, theory and workplace experience in a trade field. In the case of a listed trade it ends in a trade test and an artisan certificate of competence. Apprenticeships are in reality the contract that is signed between the apprentice and the pre-approved employer and lasts for the duration of the apprenticeship. Employment is generally guaranteed after completing an apprenticeship.

The National Artisan Moderation Body (NAMB) oversees the apprenticeships in South Africa, on behalf of the QCTO. NAMB moderates trade tests, develops and manages a national database of registered artisan trade assessors and moderators. NAMB also records artisan achievements and makes recommendations to the QCTO for the certification of artisans.

Why are apprenticeships important?

In South Africa, there are many industries that desperately need skilled artisans and Apprenticeships are aimed at developing trade-specific skills to fill the voids in these industries.

How does an apprenticeship work?

Registered artisans or employers advertise in newspapers or place adverts in the city, town or community centers for apprentices.

A person hoping to become an apprentice must be at least 15 years of age to be able to enter an apprenticeship.. The apprentice will enter into a formal contract with the pre-approved employer for the agreed period of the apprenticeship.

The apprentice effectively becomes an employee of the company and works for the company for the agreed time in order to gain the skills and experience necessary to work in the industry. While working the apprentice also studies theory through a training institute like a FET college so that he or she may be able to complete a trade test.

Unless the contract between the company and the apprentice is mutually terminated the apprentice is guaranteed of employment after qualifying as an artisan.

More information is available from the department of labour Here

What is an Internship?

An internship is a career-specific programme that a candidate undertakes during or after their studies. It is intended to provide a candidate with the practical experience required to operate and make a positive contribution with respect to the career path they are pursuing.

The benefits of an internship:

  • The individual gains a competitive advantage over the average career seeker with little or no experience at all;
  • The candidate gains a better understanding of the nature of the working world and the challenges they will face throughout their career development process;
  • Internships provides the candidate with the opportunity to make use of the skills acquired from the training provided at school, university and or college; and
  • Candidates who shows great promise may be given a permanent employment contract with the company.

The nature of an internship often varies across companies, but one will find that most internships are unpaid, especially in NGO’s and most work that takes place in the public sector.

Why do an Internship?

Work experience gained with an internship is considered quite useful as it will enable the candidate to compile a CV that also includes work experience. The chance of gaining employment is increased if the candidate can produce actual work experience and have illustrated good work ethics, dedication and passion for the field.

Internships may also be a great opportunity to network with people who may ultimately help you with respect to your career goals. Furthermore and most importantly, an internship will enable you to assess your own strengths, ability and dedication to the industry.

Most companies require that a candidate have work experience before considering employing the candidate. Doing an internship or volunteer work counts in the candidate’s favour as it serves as a sense of proof that the candidate is dedicated and interested in the field.

In effect doing an internship is a great opportunity to apply the skills a candidate gains throughout their educational career in a practical way and in the working environment.

For the company or employer being able to identify the next generation of employee could prove invaluable and will ensure that a company adapts and stays in business.


Changing Lives Together