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Rules for Resigning and Registering for Learnerships

You can’t register for more than one Learnership at a time

Each learnership is registered by the employer with SARS and with the SETA. The employer will receive tax rebates and BEE points.

Learner details and results are entered into the National Learner Records Database each time they are assessed for a unit standard, skills programme or full qualification.

The Problems

  • Learners don’t officially resign but simply drop off (attrition).
  • Companies don’t declare this attrition in the hope that they can find a replacement before it’s too late.
  • Some companies don’t declare and appear to forge learner details in order to claim rebates and earn points.

A learner’s story

How do I know that I still belong to a relevant seta? I was on a learnership but it ended so badly that I ended up getting a new learnership ahead of the old one … I heard that the SETA won’t approve my new learnership under EWSETA since the contract with MERSETA on the previous learnership is still not terminated. So how do I cancel my previous agreement with MERSETA.


  1. Write a letter to your former employer and let them know that you are still registered on their programme but that you left on (xxx date).
  2. Request a letter of termination in accordance with Sectoral Determination 5: Learnerships. (Use this statement in the subject line)
  3. Email the letter to the former employer and copy to the ESETA. (Be very polite and diplomatic. Don’t go accusing anyone of anything or start making claims that you cannot substantiate.)
  4. Explain that you experienced challenges on the previous programme and had to leave. Do not start a war with them!

Learners should remember that simply dropping off is unprofessional and downright childish. Please follow the correct procedure of informing an employer of your intention to resign and hand them a letter of resignation.


Sadly, I have first-hand experience of rogue training providers and unscrupulous employers. They exist and they are horrible.  If you are a learner who believes their rights are being ignored use the contact details in How to Check Training Provider Credentials. Read the post on checking credentials to find contacts for reporting training providers.

Read Learnership Contract of Employment and Termination as this post explains what happens when it all ends unhappily

Learners, employers and training providers must remember that learnership agreements entered into are legally binding.

Read more about learnership legislation: Learnership Disagreements

A company’s story

A learner has been registered on a learnership for the past year and has completed their portfolio and has been employed for the duration of the learnership. When we wanted to upload their results it was rejected as the system picked up that they had already completed the same programme previously.

Worst case scenario is that the interview records prove that the learner lied during the application process and purposefully failed to declare that they had completed this programme elsewhere.   The company is not allowed to claim rebates and earn BEE points for a programme that the learner has already completed. A learner can be sued for misrepresentation and fraud. Who knows where this could lead. 🙁


The employer was sloppy and didn’t bother asking or doing any background checks. If the training provider recruited learners for them and failed to check the details, then they should certainly be sued as opposed to the learner. In fact, I’m pretty sure the employer can claim back the cost of the training from the provider.

Preventative Advice

  1. If you are recruiting for learnerships – ask the right questions and perform the NLRD check.
  2. If you are a training provider, upload learner details to the NLRD at the beginning of the programme – not at the end.
  3. If you are a Learner – you wouldn’t go and redo Matric more than once after passing the first time. You cannot register for the same qualification. You will get into serious trouble.


SETAs, Training providers and employers are responsible for assisting learners with opportunities for employment once the learnership is completed.

Training providers should include a policy on vocational guidance and career support in their QMS and SETAs and the QCTO should include this as an accreditation requirement.

More about legislation

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Comments (12)

  1. Hi please assist I was in a learnership programme with one of retail companies which takes 24months to complete learnership but I only worked for 4months with only one training provided by SETA and then I got a new permanent job in a different sector. I signed a contract with this retail company which stipulates that if you in any case terminates they contract before end date then you owe this company an amount of 25000 my concern is that they don’t explain this part clearly. I submitted a resignation letter instead of just dropping out. why do we owe such big amounts whereas learnership focuses more on giving an opportunity to unemployed graduates or people? as I write I received a telephone call and smses from the company requesting that I should pay them 29000 that I owe to them and my last salary when I resigned was blocked and I was not payed at all, according to them they kept/blockmy salary because I still owe them

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