What is a Learnership?

By on August 26, 2011
A Learnership is a work-based approach to learning and gaining qualifications and includes both structured work experience (practical) and structured institutional learning (theory).
Criteria, as set out in the Skills Development Act, indicate that a learnership must:
  • Include a structured learning component
  • Include practical work experience
  • Lead to a qualification
  • Relate to an occupation
Why Learnerships were established
The Skills Development Act and Skills Development Levies Act were devised to implement structures and processes to transform skills development in SA. A critical look at how employers and training providers have provided education, training and work experience in the past indicates that education and training provision has not always linked theory and practice.
Learnerships are intended to address the gap between current education and training provision and the needs of the labour market and are often seen as the crux of skills upliftment in terms of the Skills Development Act. Learnerships seek to address the following labour market issues:
  • the decline in levels of employment in South Africa
  • the unequal distribution of income
  • unequal access to education and training, and employment opportunities
  • the effects of race, gender and geographical location on advancement
  • the skills shortage amongst the labour force
Why are Learnerships Important?
  • The programme is outcomes-based
  • The learner interacts within the working environment (practical)
  • The learner interacts with clients and obtains an understanding of workplace dynamics
  • Assessment occurs at various stages and is based on the learners’ competence (learner centered)
  • The qualification is recognised both nationally and is benchmarked against international standards
How to Participate in a Learnership?
  • Plan a career path
  • Identify the learnership that supports the chosen career path
  • Find out as much information as possible about the learnership
  • Enquire about the applicable criteria for entering the learnership
  • Find an employer willing to provide practical work experience


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