What’s happening to learnerships?

There are major changes coming to learnerships that will affect the way we know it

Rustim ariefdien
By Rustim ariefdien
3 Min Read

There are major changes coming to learnerships that will affect the way we know it

Learnerships have become a good way for persons with disabilities to get a qualification and work experience while earning a stipend over a 12-month period. Companies have found that persons with disabilities on learnerships provide them with valuable B-BBEE Scorecard Points. These learnerships could be on an NQF level, primarily at the lower levels, where learners spend time in theoretical training and gaining work experience in a workplace.

Learnerships are quality assured by a SETA. This process has been transitioning to the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO). As of 1 July 2024, SETAs will no longer register learners on their systems. In fact, many SETAs have brought this deadline forward by a few months. Furthermore, the tax allowance for learnerships falls away on 29 February 2024. This was a huge benefit to businesses, particularly those employing learners with disabilities. With these no longer available, the attraction of doing learnerships with people with disabilities is hugely disadvantaged.

To compound this challenge, the QCTO has not registered many qualifications at the lower NQF levels, which are more suited to many persons with disabilities. If businesses are not able to register learners on lower NQF levels, then they might not be engaging persons with disabilities on learnerships. Yet another challenge is that the Disability Employment Equity target that is going to be set to two percent, which is much lower than the last census. Thus, the disparity in Disability Employment Equity just keeps growing.

These challenges will result in opportunities for persons with disabilities not being easily available as has been in the past. What options are persons with disabilities going to have? Who is going to lobby for them?

For business, this situation is going to affect their B-BBEE Scorecards as the value of learnerships for persons with disabilities is lost. They are going to be deterred by the difficulty of earning the disability points on the B-BBEE Scorecard for Black Disability Employment Equity and Disability Skills Development, and the termination of the tax allowances.

When speaking to the relevant authorities, they are at a loss for words. As organisations and activists in the field of disability, this is a huge threat. Who do we speak to to address these challenges? What is our plan of action? How are we going to go about it?

We need to engage the relevant government authorities on these matters, including the Department of Higher Education (in terms of SETAs), South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), QCTO and Business Chambers. This situation is extremely dire. We cannot afford to not address these challenges. Disability Economic Empowerment is at risk.

Share This Article
Rustim ariefdien
By Rustim ariefdien Disability Expert
Rustim Ariefdien is a disability expert extraordinaire, who assists businesses to “let the Ability of disAbility enAble their profitAbility” through BBBEE, skills development, employment equity and socio-economic development. He ensures that businesses are able to maximise their points on the BBBEE scorecard and become compliant with legislative requirements as stipulated in the Employment Equity and Skills Development Acts. His purpose is the economic empowerment of persons with disability in Africa. As a person with a disability himself, he has extensive experience in the development and empowerment of persons with disability.
  • Good day all

    have attended NQF Level 4 Generic Management course from 2020 until 2021. Due to some Covid obstacles, we couldn’t finish as per planned time frame and were expected to compile POE (portfolio of Evidence). There were some delays in reaching our lecture for some other clarification so that we could complete and submit and still to-date, haven’t submitted

    could you please advise which correct procedure to follow until submitting my POE

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.