NPOs working in the disability field are at an advantage when applying for Discretionary Grant funding from SETAs
Only about a percent of the workforce are persons with disabilities. A very high rate of unemployment and jobs generally difficult to come by exacerbates the chances of persons with disabilities finding employment. Furthermore, the training and skills gap is larger for persons with disabilities, which makes it even more difficult to find employment.
Learnerships are thus a good pathway to get a qualification in a field of choice for the person with a disability. Additionally, the learners are able to earn a stipend in the process and gain valuable work experience.
Many learnership fields have further learning pathways that learners with disabilities can follow if they choose.
Non-profit organisations (NPOs) are struggling to raise funds to execute their valuable work for people with disabilities.
Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs), of which there are 21 in South Africa, have a disability target which they struggle to achieve. This presents an opportunity for NPOs to apply.
SETAs regularly invite applications for Discretionary Grant funding from stakeholders. The SETA pays the stakeholder the cost of delivering the learnership. This includes a learner stipend and training grant – the latter can be used to source an accredited training provider. The Discretionary Grant ranges from about R6 000 to R12 000 per learnership.
NPOs are in the best position to apply. They have good databases of learner candidates with disability, and they understand the concept of reasonable accommodation. They are able to identify and offer the necessary support to the learner with a disability in training and in the workplace.
The funding equation could be lucrative for the NPO. The training grant can be negotiated in such a way as to where the NPO is able to keep a surplus, which could be about R2 000 to
R5 000 per learnership.
Furthermore, as the Lead Employer on SETA Discretionary Grant allocations, the NPO is able to claim the Employee Tax Incentive (ETI) which amounts to R18 000 for the 12-month duration of the learnership project.
The NPO could thus easily earn about R26 000 to R35 000 per learnership as net income on a learnership project. An allocation of about 20 learnerships would thus have a net worth to the NPO of R700 000.
The role of the NPO covers the following:
- Making an application for funding.
- On allocation source a Skills Development Provider.
- Ensure the hosting of the learner.
- Adequately support the learner.
- Project manage the project.
- Financially manage the project.
The learner with a disability benefit in the following ways:
- They get a monthly stipend.
- They get a qualification.
- They get valuable work experience.
- They are able to enhance their CV.
There are opportunities for persons with disability out there. Through access to knowledge, collaboration and cooperation we can empower people with disabilities.