If you’re wondering how to find these qualification options, here are killer tips for you! Companies offer learnerships and apprenticeships in order to receive tax rebates and BEE points. Although this system targets mainly black youth, this market finds it difficult to find and access legitimate opportunity.
Learnerships and Apprenticeships
Both are occupational training programmes supported by the Department of Higher Education and Training. These interventions were constructed to encourage companies to create opportunities for the unemployed, largely youth beneficiaries.
Not all companies advertising these opportunities can be trusted. The DHET, DoL and SETAs fail to monitor effectively and depend on the public to report cases. However cases learners reported on Keep Climbing were forwarded to relevant departments yet nothing happened. Perhaps the complaints the DHET and their partners follow-up on are when ‘brown envelopes’ are being passed!
Learner complaints received and placed on record:
- no contracts
- no stipend
- no structured learning components
- no work experience, learners signed each other’s log books
- unfair dismissals
- learners encouraged to submit medical certificates claiming fake disabilities
Candidates must check if the training provider is registered, contact the relevant SETA or DHET to check.
Learners send learnership contracts to me for review, I still haven’t received a copy that cannot be legally challenged. This is very frustrating, it’s difficult to believe youth are being exposed to real opportunity and that the system is capable of protecting them. Contracts are kept on record and only published if the situation requires exposure on social media. We have achieved some success in this, learners have reported back saying contracts or terms and conditions were suddenly changed and improved. I NEVER REVEAL MY SOURCES.
Learnerships and apprenticeships are formal qualification programmes. You are required to spend time training and working. Employers can claim back money they pay candidates, yet they often pay low, extremely low.
Training providers and employers can be the same organisation, these usually focus on providing education and training as their core business. They usually depend on funding or charge fees. Their limited budgets can mean low, but fair stipends.
Unfortunately business takes advantage of the model and uses black youth in particular as cheap labour while claiming rebates, BEE points and other incentives. Learnerships and apprenticeships are great for business, but click this link to check out what learners have to say.
The policy concepts behind learnerships and apprenticeships are solid, don’t be discouraged! Just work hard to find the real opportunities that will benefit your development without abusing you.
Joining a programme
This list of suggestions is not comprehensive, you will find additional routes to opportunity by asking around, tapping into different networks and doing your own research about the specific career path you want to pursue.
If you want to be on a programme, try the following:
- Identify companies that you want to work at, if you can see that they already offer opportunities – that’s great! But even if you can’t find this evidence, contact them anyway. “You don’t stand a chance unless you take a chance.”
- Contact the HR department at a company you would like to work for.
- Ask if they have a learnership / apprenticeship program that you could apply to.
- Get the details, send them an awesome cover letter introducing your magnificent self!
- Contact a SETA
- Identify two or three qualifications you want to pursue (make an effort)
- Contact the relevant SETA (Sectoral Education and Training Authority).
- Ask to be put through to the Learnerships department (expect to be on hold for a long time. Don’t use your cell phone unless you have lots of airtime.)
- Ask who’s recruiting for the qualifications. Also remember that SETA websites can be very useful (when they update them.)
- Look for private providers / FET colleges
- Training organisations usually manage the learning programme for learnerships and apprenticeships. They often recruit candidates on behalf of employers.
- Google the relevant qualification and check which training companies pop up. Contact them directly, create a great impression and don’t beg. Flatter them. This means you’re charming them to get them on your side. “I found your website and compared you to other companies. I’m really impressed with what you do. I’m wondering if you’re recruiting for x qualification or if there are any other opportunities?”
- When you contact private training companies, ask to speak to a salesperson or project manager dealing with learnerships / apprenticeships. Call and tell the receptionist you’ve heard great things about their programmes and require more information. Don’t sound like a hustler to the receptionist – she won’t put you through! Don’t specifically say you’re a potential learner, just that you require more information about their programmes. Avoid saying more than you need to before you are put through to the right person. 😉
- You can also find people at the company to contact directly by researching their website. Email or call.
- Find instructions here about registering on the Department of Labour Website.
- Keep Climbing has compiled lists of SETA service providers: