Skills are in demand! In fact, in a country where 4.3 million people are unemployed, they are pretty much all the rage. A golden ticket to a better life, jobs, opportunities and maybe even a lifestyle worthy of a Top Billing commercial.

However, despite this demand, only 50 percent of Matric‘s have the basic skills necessary to seek work today! That’s a whole lot of unfulfilled potential and a lot of vacant job posts.

This is where the SETAs [Sector Education and Training Authorities] come in, aiming to make more skilled worker bees of us all.

Here are 4 Key Things You Should Know about these all-important training authorities.

1. SETAs Defined

Let’s jump right in and get one big question out of the way: what exactly are SETAs? Don’t worry, unless you’re a government nerd, you’re not alone in not knowing the answer.

SETAs have been established to manage the many skills development needs of the South African economy. The economy is essentially divided into 21 sectors, each of which has its own SETA. A sector is made up of economic activities that are linked and related. So, for example, there is a SETA that deals with the banking sector and one that deals with the agriculture sector.

Each SETA identifies the skills needs of its sector, and then coordinates skills development and training to meet them. This could be anything from learnerships, and internships to various types of learning programs.

2. The Skills Development Levy

We know, reading about taxes and levies is perhaps as much fun as having a root canal. However, hear us out. The Skills Development Levy (SDL), plays a vitally important role in the functioning of SETAs. SETAs fund their training programs through the payment of these levies, paid by employers. The levy is payable by all employers who are registered with SARS for PAYE and have an annual payroll exceeding R500 000. The levy is calculated at 1% of payroll, payable monthly.

3. Learnerships

To get the skills, people require training. This is where learnerships come in. A learnership is a work-based program, where you guessed it, learning takes place. They are mostly funded by the skills levies which have been allocated to the SETAs. In some cases, the SETAs will subsidise both the employer and the training provider to cover the cost of the program.

The learnership training will lead to a nationally recognized qualification and usually take a year to complete. Learners are required to attend classes at a college or training centre to complete classroom-based learning, and they will be required to complete on-the-job training in a workplace too. They will also need to sign a learnership agreement. This is a three-way agreement between the learner, employer and training provider.

4. Employer Training Claims

In many cases, employers providing training, can make claims to their SETA. However, to do so, employers should make sure that they use one of the four kinds of accredited providers for which claims are recognised:

  • Internal education and training providers, such as human resources or training and development departments.
  • External education and training providers, such as training companies and consultancies.
  • Education Training Quality Assurance providers,, who will be responsible for assessing the quality of training, as well as the moderation of learnerships and qualifications.
  • RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning) providers,, who will be responsible for assessing and moderating applications for qualifications based on prior learning.

Furthermore, employees should show proof of expenditure, attendance registers and the training provider used in the Annual Training Report.

Feel skilled in all things SETA? If you still want to learn more, visit for more information.