What is a learnership?

A learnership is a work-based learning programme that leads to a qualification that is registered in the National Qualifications Framework.  Learnerships are directly related to an occupation or field of work, for example, bookkeeping or office administration.  The aims of learnerships are to address the challenges of:

  • Decreasing employment;
  • Unequal access to education and training, and employment opportunities;
  • The effects of race, gender and geographical location on educational advancement;
  • and over and above the skills shortages in South Africa.


Who qualifies for a learnership?

Learnerships are available for those who have completed school, college or learning at other training institutions, or for those who are studying part-time.  Unemployed South Africans can participate in a learnership programme if there is an employer who is prepared to provide the required work experience.


What are the benefits of learnerships to employers?

As the learnerships are developed by industry for the industry, and in consultation with all stakeholders, the learning programmes and qualifications linked to these learnerships are relevant to the specific occupation.  When learners partake in a learnership there is a greater credibility of the qualifications as the employer has the assurance that the learners can demonstrate not only theory competence but practical competence as well.


As learnerships combine both practical a theory outcome of a qualification, they provide skilled people who:

  • tend to work more independently, need less supervision and possess enhanced problem-solving capabilities;
  • are motivated and strive to add value to the business;
  • are less likely to leave a company that takes an interest and invests in their personal and professional development;
  • entering into learning contracts with unemployed people contributes to building up the skills pool, from which employers may recruit relevant skills as needed;
  • have more skills. The more skills gained, the greater the productivity and the more meaningful the individual’s contribution to South Africa’s global competitiveness and to creating an environment conducive to investment.


By placing un-employed learners on a learnership, the employer has access to a wider pool of appropriately qualified workers who have developed skills that are relevant to the company’s specific work context.


Furthermore, there is an increased return on investment when implementing training initiatives.  Not only are there BEE benefits, but there are:

  • Higher returns from the Skills Levy and investment in training, due to transfer of learning to the job.
  • Increased grant disbursements from Skills Levy contributions. Many SETAs offer Learnership grants ranging from R 4 000 – R 40 000 per learner. However, the grants are subject to availability and are offered on a first come, first serve basis on the condition that the Learnership address a scarce skill in the sector.
  • Tax Incentives: SARS offers companies attractive tax incentives for participating in Learnerships. Tax Incentives are deductions on your taxable income that you can claim for each Learnership candidate that you have in your employment, once at the start of the Learnership, and once again at its completion.
    • For learnerships entered into after 1 October 2016 but before 1 April 2022:
      • The allowance will depend on the NQF (National Qualification Framework) level of the learnership. For NQF level 1-6, the employer can claim a tax allowance of R40,000 (R60,000 for disability) per year and NQF level 7-10, It can claim a tax allowance of R20,000 (R50,000 for disability) per year.
      • The employer can claim a R40,000 “completion allowance” for NQF level 1-6 (R60,000 for disability) and R20,000 for NQF level 7-10 (R50,000 for disability).
      • If the Learnership exceeds 24 months, then the completion allowance is multiplied by the number of consecutive 12-month periods within the duration of that learnership.


What are the benefits of learnerships for learners?

The following are the benefits of learnerships for learners:

  • Better employment opportunities afterwards;
  • Fixed-term employment contract for the duration of the Learnership;
  • Learnerships improve on the job performance so they are able to do things relevant to the job;
  • A nationally-recognised qualification that is relevant to the sector;
  • Earning a learner allowance for the duration of the Learnership.


What does a learner receive on completion?

During the Learnership, learners will be required to complete assignments, tasks and practical tests and projects. They will be formally assessed in the classroom and the workplace.

If all these assignments are completed successfully, they will be awarded an NQF-registered qualification, which is recognized nationally. They will receive a certificate stating the qualification and the area of skill development.


What is required to enter into a Learnership?

If a learner is accepted, he/she will need to sign two legal documents:

  • Learnership Agreement: this is an agreement signed by the learner, the organisation employing the learner, and the education provider offering the theoretical training component of the Learnership. This agreement clearly outlines the rights and responsibilities of all three parties.
  • Employment contract: this is a contract they will sign with the employer, which is only valid for the time period of the Learnership.


Can a Learnership be terminated?

An employer can terminate the contract of a Learnership if:

  • The duration specified in the Learnership agreement has expired;
  • The employer and learner have agreed in writing to terminate the Learnership agreement, or if there is no such agreement, the SETA that registered the agreement approves the termination; or
  • The learner is fairly dismissed for a reason related to the learner`s conduct or capacity as an employee.


Roles and responsibilities

The following are the roles and responsibilities of each party.


  • SETAs
    • To register learnership agreements.
    • Promote learnerships across all levels and sectors.


  • Learners
    • Enter learnership agreement between the employer and skills development provider.
    • Actively participate in induction programmes.
    • Work for the employer form the duration of the learnership agreement.
    • Register with a skills development provider for the theory component of the learnership qualification.
    • Register with the ICB for the theory and practical assessments associated with the relevant qualification and learnership.
    • To be available for and participate in all theory instruction and structured work experience required for the completion of the learnership.
    • Adhere to all workplace policies and procedures.
    • Complete all documentation associated with the learnership and complete and submit a workplace portfolio of evidence for assessment.


  • Skills Development Provider
    • Ensure that they are accredited by the examining body to offer tuition towards the relevant qualification that underpins the learnership.
    • Ensure that they meet the quality assurance criteria set by the examining.
    • Provide tuition in line with the outcomes of the modules of the relevant qualifications.
    • Enquire that learners are registered with the examining body for the national assessments.
    • Ensure that they are registered with the Department of Higher Education, Science and Technology.


  • Employer as a workplace provider
    • Attain accreditation with the examining body to offer the practical component of the learnership.
    • Appoint a mentor to the learner for the duration of the structured workplace component.
    • Implement a quality management system to manage:
      • Learner induction
      • Learner support
      • Mentoring
      • Performance management
    • Enter learnership agreement with the learner and accredited skills development provider.
    • Enter employment contract with the learner.
    • Comply with all applicable labour legislation.
    • Schedule and provider learner with appropriate training and exposure to the practical outcomes of the learnership as stipulated in the workplace portfolio of evidence available from the examining body.
    • Supervise the learner for the duration of the learnership agreement.
    • Release the learner for training and assessments applicable to the learnership.


In conclusion, learnerships are positive programmes that enhance the education and potential of those entering the workforce.







University degrees are not always a prerequisite, but certainly help potential employees earn higher salaries, Lars Fischer, Michael Page South Africa Operations Director, says.

And while graduates tend to earn more than their peers, Fischer said employees without degrees can still earn up to R1.2 million per year in the right jobs.

Statistics South Africa in 2017 estimated that South Africans with a bachelor’s degree earn 330% more than those without any tertiary education.

The typical salary for employees with grade 12 is R59,724 per annum versus R160,536 for employees with a diploma, and R258,324 for employees with a degree.

Michael Page’ Fischer gave Business Insider South Africa a list of the five top-earning careers in the country where you don’t need a degree.

Latest Bursaries Available

We’ve got news on the latest bursaries and funding opportunities available to you.

Do you have family and friends who need bursaries to help pay for their studies? Please share newsletter this with them so that they don’t miss out.

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Social Development Bursaries and Financial Assistance

The Social Development Department has a bursary scheme that will assist you to study and then includes a period of working for the department after you complete your studies.
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Sanral Bursary Available Now

The South African National Roads Agency offers bursaries to SA citizens. The bursaries include tuition fees, accommodation, meals, books, equipment and a living allowance.
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Compensation Fund Bursary for Study

The Compensation Fund is offering bursaries to youth in many different areas including Nursing,
Medical courses, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Bachelor of Commerce, Information Communications Technology and Actuarial science.
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Nedbank Bursary Available

The Nedbank bursary is available for study at all universities or universities of technology. Apply now if you are currently studying or want to study next year.
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Toyota SA Bursaries Available for 2020

Toyota has bursaries available for SA citizens who have great academic and leadership potential. The bursary will cover a range of different courses of study.
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JP Morgan Bursary 2020

JP Morgan offers full cost bursaries for young South Africans wishing to pursue degree programmes in:
• Commerce
• Engineering
• Finance
• Investment
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Takealot.com 2020 Bursary

Takealot.com is funding bursaries for deserving candidates who are South African citizens studying at public South African institutions towards relevant degree programmes.
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Amazon Recruitment Bursary 2020

The purpose of the Amazon Recruitment Bursary is to develop a talent pipeline for Amazon (AWS) in South Africa and provides funding for first and second year students.
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Bursaries for Matrics to Study in 2020

Bursaries are available if you are in Matric this year and want to study towards a degree or a diploma next year.
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Mohamed Khamis Foundation has 100 full scholarships

The Mohamed Farid Khamis Foundation for the Development of the Society is offering one hundred fully funded scholarships to African students
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Investec Bursaries

An Investec bursary is so much more than funding for your degree.
We are highly invested in developing well-rounded individuals so that our graduates are not only qualified but work ready too.
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Transnet Bursary Scheme

The Transnet bursary is available to students studying for BSc, BEng, or BCom degrees in a range of disciplines.
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South African Government Bursaries

Each Provincial Government in South Africa offers a Provincial Government Bursary Programme. These Government bursaries are rare, so it’s advisable to apply for these opportunities at the earliest convenience.
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You’re trying to decide what to study and the options seem endless – how do you know what is the right path for you? Studying is an investment in your future, but how do you ensure you get the best return on that investment?

A business management qualification does just that – it can open up a number of career pathways, and top-earning ones at that.

We’ve put together some top positions available to those with a business qualification:


Yes, it might take you a while to get there, but with a business qualification, you’re on the right path.

Chief executives plan, coordinate, and oversee the operational activities of companies. They work to ensure that their companies meet their goals. Chief executives work in a variety of public and private-sector industries.

Although they earn, on average, the highest salary of all management positions, they also work extremely long hours and are essentially responsible for the success of their companies.

Computer and Information Systems Manager

With IT being one of the fastest growing sectors, there is a continuous demand for people with these skills.

Computer and information systems managers (also known as information technology managers) plan, coordinate, and oversee technology-related activities within an organization. They determine the information technology needs of a company, and then implement programs to see that these needs are met.

They also direct and oversee the work of other information technology workers. IT managers can work in a variety of fields that rely on technology.

Marketing Manager

Do you have a flair for the creative and enjoy coming up with new innovative and inspiring ideas? Marketing could be the path for you!

Marketing managers plan and oversee programs to generate interest in a service or product. A marketing manager identifies markets for its company’s products and develops strategies to maximize profits and customer satisfaction. The manager works with sales, public relations, and product development to ensure the success of each marketing program.

Financial Manager

Whoever said finance people are boring never spent a day in their shoes.

Financial managers oversee the financial health of an organization. They help devise long-term financial goals for their organization and implement these plans through investment activities, financial reports, and analysis of market trends. They typically work closely with other managers to make financial decisions for the company.

Sales Manager

It might be cliché, but some people literally can sell ice to an Eskimo!

Sales managers direct their organization’s sales department or team. They set sales goals and implement training programs and work strategies to improve employees’ sales records.

Public Relations Manager

If public opinion is what drives you and you have a flair for influencing others, you could be the next PR Guru.

Public relations managers plan and oversee programs that ensure a favourable public image for their employer or client. They also typically work to raise funds for the company. Their work may involve developing public relations programs and media releases, and developing and planning fundraising events and strategies.

Human Resource Manager

Do you play by the rules of the game and you enjoy meeting new people? If you answered yes, then a career in HR could be for you.

Human resource managers spend their time performing many tasks. Their primary responsibility tends to be overseeing the administrative functions that take place within the organizations that they work for; this includes recruiting new workers, hiring them and preparing them for their roles.

Many human resources managers also ensure that their employers stay in compliance with employee labour laws and regulations. Some of them even spend part of their time overseeing many bookkeeping tasks, including payroll and compensation duties.

General and Operations Manager

Are you an all-rounder with strong leadership skills? Being a General Manager could be your ideal career path.

General managers (also known as operations managers) direct a variety of different operations. Their duties may include managing the daily operations of an office or company, formulating policies, or developing and overseeing specific projects.

ELMI has a selection of business management courses just for you. Take a look and register today.