On 16 June, 45 years ago, young people in South Africa stood up – and died – for the right to access education and to learn in a language they could understand. And they won.
But the challenges for SA’s youth aren’t over, and lots of young people today still struggle to get access to education and jobs, and the country desperately needs people with skills to help us develop.
The Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) learnership programme is the answer, helping young people get skills and training while supporting SA’s growth and development.
What is a Learnership?
A learnership is a job with real training towards attaining a real qualification that is nationally recognised by all industries.
You ‘learn-on-the-job’ by working for a company at a beginners’ level, while studying for a National Qualifications Framework (NQF) qualification in the job you’re doing.
The Health & Wellness industry is based on science, so most careers in the industry need some science or biology education.
If you didn’t study those subjects before, but you want a career in the health and wellness industry now, a learnership enables you to earn the NQF credits you need to achieve that.
You also don’t need a matric to qualify for many of the learnerships, so a learnership gives you access to education, even if you struggled with that in the past.
How do Learnerships Work?
Learnerships are vocational skills training programmes run by government SETAs.
There are 21 SETAs covering every type of industry, like mining, health ( www.hwseta.co.za), education or the media, and each SETA has a learnership programme for its industry.
There are 2 parts to a learnership – the practical work experience and the theoretical studying, which is supplied by a qualified educator.
The practical training happens during your day-to-day job and you have a company mentor to support you. At the same time, you are studying and writing assessments to earn credits for an NQF qualification.
If you are looking to grow your career from being a community caregiver to a trained children’s nurse, for example, you have to study some basic science and biology, learn computers or perhaps improve your English. The theoretical part of your learnership helps you to earn those NGQ credits – and skills.
How Long Does a Learnership Last?
The length of a learnership will depend on what you need to learn. If the NQF qualification you are working towards takes 2 years, then your learnership will also be 2 years long.
You do not get a salary as a learner, but you do receive an allowance for meals and travel, often called a stipend. The amount is based on the SETA, the learnership, and the qualification you are working towards.
The company where you are working pays for your training, not you, the learner. When you are qualified, your learnership and employment with the company are over.
Who are Eligible for Learnerships?
Learnerships are designed to help young people start their careers, so you must be between 15 and 35 years old to qualify.
In general, you don’t need a matric to apply for a learnership, but you need to have Grade 10, been to college or had some learning at a training institution.
Many learnerships require a National Senior Certificate (Grade 12) and some might even ask for specific skills, like computer literacy.
Each Health and Wellness learnership has its own requirements, so you need to check that you qualify for what you want to do.
If you don’t qualify at first for your ultimate job, you can find a learnership that will help you earn the NQF credits to apply for your next higher-level learnership – and build your career step by step.
Where Can I Find Learnership Opportunities?
Each of the 21 SETAs in South Africa runs its own learnership programme, so you need to apply to the individual SETA for an industry.
The learnership programmes are specific to jobs, so if you want a career in food and nutrition, you need to identify the right SETA for your goals.
To help you make your decision the HWSETA created hw-careers.co.za which provides in-depth information on careers related to the seta and career guidance. You could go into farming (Agriculture), open a produce shop (Retail), design school menus (Health / Food & Beverages) or help people with food allergies (Health & Welfare ).
You can train to be a sports therapist, help people as a grief & trauma counsellor or follow your heart into research as a lab assistant.
And don’t panic if you don’t know exactly what you want to do – the website uses an easy questionnaire to help you find the career that suits your interests and natural talents.
Who Benefits from a Learnership?
Everyone benefits from a learnership – young people are getting work and training, and companies are fulfilling contracts and doing business. But a learnership is a lot more than just a job.
You have the security of a defined work contract with an allowance for a specific length of time. You get the chance to study for a nationally recognized qualification, at the same time as gaining valuable on-the-job experience. You learn how to work in a professional environment – and what it takes to make it in the real world.
More Information About Learnerships in South Africa
Need more information about learnerships in South Africa? Check out HWSETA’s answers to frequently asked questions about learnerships.