Why PIVOTAL Programmes are Important to SETAs

PIVOTAL Programmes are Professional, Vocational, Technical and Academic Learning industry-specific skills development solutions.

PIVOTAL Programmes attract funding and provide extremely important career development opportunities.

What Are PIVOTAL Programmes?

PIVOTAL stands for Professional, Vocational, Technical and Academic Learning.

PIVOTAL programmes are industry-specific skills development solutions that target skill gaps.

SETAs provide funding according to the rising demands for specific trades and occupations.

Therefore economic sectors with critical and scarce skill shortages are prioritised for PIVOTAL programme funding.

funding pivotal programmes

PIVOTAL Programmes and Qualifications

PIVOTAL training results in full occupational or part qualifications on the National Qualifications Framework.

Why are PIVOTAL Programmes Important?

PIVOTAL programs were introduced via legislation because South Africa is not meeting industry skills needs.

The aim is to boost companies that provide training in identified National Skills Priority areas.

Employers are advised to include PIVOTAL programmes in their Mandatory Grant submissions.

The National Funding Regulations allow SETAs to allocate more funding to PIVOTAL Programs than any other category.

Submit Your Plan for PIVOTAL Programmes

It’s crucial to submit your PIVOTAL Plan with your Mandatory Grant Claim usually by around June 30, each year, if you intend to train in this category.

Provision is made within the Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) and Annual Training Report (ATR) templates to plan for and report against PIVOTAL programmes. 

Employers funding programs not registered on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) should be cautious.

For example, merSETA emphasizes the importance of NQF registration for eligibility in PIVOTAL Programs.

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If a company does not submit a WSP by the due date of 30 April, it will forfeit its Mandatory Grant.

Then the money will be swept into the Discretionary Fund for use in the SETA strategic focus areas.

Companies that do not submit their WSP documents by 30 April will not be able to apply for discretionary funds.

Delivering Pivotal and Non-Pivotal Training Programs through SETAs

Prioritize pivotal programs that directly address identified skills gaps within the sector, as these are crucial for workforce development and economic growth.

Non-pivotal programs can complement PIVOTAL training.

MICT SETA Funding Example: Mandatory grants

MICT SETA Mandatory Grants are paid to eligible companies.

They are calculated at 20% of an employer’s 1% skills levy.

To claim back the 20% as a mandatory grant employers have to submit a Workplace Skills Plan and an Annual Training Report before 30 April every year.

Companies with a wage bill of less than R500 000 do not have to pay this 1% levy.

How to be Eligible for MICT SETA Mandatory Grants:

For levy-paying employers to qualify to receive the mandatory grants, they have to meet the following criteria:

nqf level 8 learnership qualifications

MICT SETA Discretionary Grants for PIVOTAL Programmes

Discretionary grants are paid out at the discretion of SETA management for skills development projects linked to scarce and critical skills (sector-priority occupations).

Discretionary grant funding is focused on PIVOTAL programmes.

However, grants can be paid out to both PIVOTAL and Non-PIVOTAL programmes according to the SETA policy.

CATHSSETA PIVOTAL Programme Policy Example

qcto cathsseta qualifications and accreditation

CATHSSETA PIVOTAL Training and Discretionary Grants

CATHSSETA‘s  Discretionary grants policy provides a useful outline for understanding the learning programmes that are prioritised for funding:

  1. Learnerships registered on the National Qualifications Framework;
  2. Apprenticeships and artisanal qualifications;
  3. Skills Programmes (Part qualification), made up of a combination of unit standards that fall within a qualification, intending to increase the skills level of employed and unemployed learners;
  4. Work Integrated Learning for TVET and University learners studying for an occupational qualification, who require work experience and learning as part of the qualification;
  5. Internships for learners from Universities and Universities of Technology (UoTs) who have completed their occupational qualification and are seeking a period of workplace experience in their chosen occupation. The work experience must be structured and supervised by a suitably qualified person; and
  6. Bursaries to support employees and unemployed learners to take part in programmes that result in an occupational qualification.
  7. Preference will be given to learners from public Institutions of higher learning. Private Institutions of higher learning will only be considered if the qualification applied for is not available at public institutions, and there is evidence of such.

In allocating Discretionary Grant funds, CATHSSETA prioritises PIVOTAL programmes (80% of fund allocation).

The Accounting Authority will determine the proportion of funds allocated to different categories by considering the priorities for the year as set out in the SSP and the APP of the CATHSSETA.

pivotal funding what is a seta

Differences Between PIVOTAL and Non-PIVOTAL Programmes

Non-PIVOTAL Training Programmes

These are programmes considered important to SETAs but are not credit-bearing programmes.

Remember that PIVOTAL programmes lead to full or part-qualifications and are therefore credit-bearing.

Maximum 20% of Discretionary Grant

The National Funding Regulations allow SETAs to provide more funding on PIVOTAL
Programmes than in any other category.

Non-PIVOTAL Training Programmes

Non-PIVOTAL programmes are those programmes aimed at developing sectors under SETA priorities, as outlined in Sector Skills Plans and Annual Performance Plans.

This is where you can squeeze in pioneering and niche training for industry leaders.

What are Non-PIVOTAL Training Programmes?

Non-PIVOTAL programmes include career guidance, sector conferences, sector research, TVET Capacity Building and Public Service Training.

It also includes the development of skills centres and other such non-credit bearing interventions that impact the sector skills agenda.

Non-PIVOTAL programmes are funded through Special Projects.

Who can apply for PIVOTAL Training Funding?

Stakeholders eligible to apply for Discretionary Grants include:

  • SETA member organisations (levy paying and non-levy paying);
  • TVETs and Institutions of Higher Education;
  • Government departments, state-owned entities and other organs of the state;
  • Training providers;
  • Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), Community-Based Organisations (CBOs) and Cooperatives;
  • Organised labour;
  • Industry bodies; and
  • Relevant stakeholders in the SETA sector
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ETDPSETA Programmes for Education Training and Development

Interested in the education, training and development sector? Check out my post on 2023 ETDPSETA interventions for hard-to-fill vacancies.

Contact Leonie Hall for support and help with obtaining funding for your business.


PIVOTAL and Non-PIVOTAL Training Programs in the SETA Context

1. What “SETA” stands for, and how they relate to training programs

SETA stands for Sector Education and Training Authority.

The SETAs oversee skills development and training within specific sectors in South Africa.

They ensure alignment with industry needs.

Click here to view the EWSETA Skills for PIVOTAL Programmes example.

skills development plan services

2. What distinguishes Pivotal and Non-Pivotal Training Programs within the SETA framework?

PIVOTAL programmes are directly linked to critical skills required for employment within a specific sector.

While non-pivotal programs are supplementary and often contribute to broader professional development.

FASSET Funding for PIVOTAL Programmes Example

FASSET says it has “adopted a pipeline approach to funding.”

The pipeline approach identifies the education and training value chain for people who want to enter into the sector.

Then they also address those progressing up the value chain within the FASSET sector

To facilitate skills development, transformation and social upliftment in the sector, FASSET uses unclaimed grant money to fund programmes that meet specific criteria.

Based on the Sector Skills Plan and other research, Fasset’s Board identifies areas of high skills need within the sector.

FASSET PIVOTAL Programme funding

Strategic project interventions are identified and are advertised annually.

New projects are approved by the Grants Adjudication Committee (GAC).

All Bridging Programmes are geared towards addressing the underprivileged demographic profile within the sector, and all are therefore in line with the NSDS targets.

qcto fasset finance qualifications

The open windows are advertised on the Fasset website.

Potential service providers are advised to regularly check these public sources of information for new and updated information.

Employers interested in accessing graduates should contact the Fasset Projects Department on 011 476 8570.

Learners wishing to participate in funded projects must check the list of approved institutions.

Click here to download the full list of bridging programmes Fasset-funded training interventions: 

  • Academic Bridging Programmes (PIVOTAL and NON-PIVOTAL) that lead to academic or professional body qualifications/designations

This enables Fasset to partner with public providers from Universities and Universities of Technology registered with DHET; and Professional Bodies in the Fasset sector.

This means learners obtain formal qualifications that will enhance their chances of securing learnerships, internships or full-time employment in the broader economy including in the Fasset sector.

The outcome of this intervention is that learners will have progressed from one academic level to the next; or obtained a qualification and/or a designation, or will have been placed onto learnerships, internships or in full-time employment and that Fasset would have formed stronger partnerships with public providers and professional bodies.

Eligible FASSET Learners:

African Black, Coloured, and learners with disabilities are eligible to apply for Fasset programmes.
Learners must have the required potential to succeed.

For learnership programmes, the following is applicable:

The learnership may be registered with Fasset or with another Seta (as defined in the Skills Development Act 97 of 2000 as amended).

An official confirmation letter of the registered learner should be attached to the application in the case of a registered learner i.e. a learner letter of commencement.

The learnership programme must not be less than 12 months, on a full-time basis.

3. Examples of Pivotal Training Programs within the SETA framework

Examples include apprenticeships, learnerships, and skills programs that address critical skills shortages identified by SETAs within their respective sectors.

Examples of Non-Pivotal Training Programs within SETAs

Non-pivotal programs encompass short courses, workshops, and seminars that enhance existing skills or provide additional qualifications beyond the core requirements of a particular occupation.

skills development services

What steps are involved in applying for PIVOTAL Training Programs through SETAs?

Identify the relevant SETA for the specific sector, review their skills development priorities and funding opportunities.

Then submit comprehensive proposals that clearly outline how the training program addresses critical skills needs.

Example of INSETA Discretionary Grant Procedure:

INSETA’s learning division works with employers to provide funding for bursaries, learnerships, skills programmes, internships and work based learning programmes within our sector.

Employers are responsible for identifying their own learners.

Are there specific requirements for Non-Pivotal Training Programs within SETAs?

While requirements may vary, non-pivotal training programs should still align with the broader skills development objectives of the sector and demonstrate value in enhancing overall workforce capabilities.

Next, tailor your training proposals to address these priorities effectively.

Finally, collaborate with SETA representatives to ensure alignment and maximize funding opportunities.

How can training providers measure the effectiveness of both Pivotal and Non-Pivotal Training Programs?

Use monitoring and evaluation frameworks provided by SETAs to track the impact of training programs on skills development, employment outcomes, and industry competitiveness.

Collect feedback from participants and employers to inform program improvements.

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