I NSIDE Learnerships attract
3 Easier, quicker
grant disburse- President Thabo Mbeki is taking year, when the President reviewed learnerships, Mopaki said Isett
ments in the a personal interest in plans to the programme’s progress. Seta was delighted to be part of
sign up 100 unemployed people the i-Community programme.
for learnerships that will enable Among the delegates there to “Provinces such as Limpopo and
them to participate actively in meet him was Oupa Mopaki, CEO Mpumalanga are sorely in need of
3 Free training supporting community-based of Isett Seta, which has thrown its skills development, yet tend to
ICT infrastructure in weight behind i-Community by take a backseat to those such as
offered to Mogalakwena in Limpopo agreeing to facilitate learnerships Gauteng and the Western Cape.
levy-paying Province. for 100 unemployed people from This learnership project is a
SMMEs the local community. Of these, 25 welcome departure that will help
The learnerships are part of a redress that imbalance.”
broad-based ICT programme, will enrol for learnerships in technical
4 R50 million known as i-Community, launched support, 25 in systems support, 25
He added that there was a clear
by President Mbeki and Hewlett in call centre technology and 25 in
in cash ear- Packard (HP) Chairman Carly
match between the goals of Isett
venture creation. Once qualified,
Seta and the i-Community
marked to help Fiorina in September 2002 during the 100 graduate learners will have
programme. “Both emphasise
companies the United Nations World Summit opportunities to become involved
sustainability and the empower-
on Sustainable Development. with the various ICT components
cover learner- More than 58% of Mogalakwena
ment of people to take their
of the i-Community infrastructure,
destinies into their own hands by
ship training residents are unemployed and currently being managed by HP.
approximately 54% are illiterate. developing skills that are relevant,
costs and Commenting on the planned
flexible and in high demand.”
allowances i-Community, run as a public
private partnership between
community stakeholders, local and
5 Two telecoms provincial government and the
learnerships private sector, led by HP, is aimed
now registered at transforming Mogalakwena
into a self-sustaining community
through ICT-enabled solutions.
8 Looking for These include a call centre and
23 community access points,
together consisting of more than
200 networked computers.
On launching the programme last
September, President Mbeki
pledged to visit Mogalakwena
after a year. That visit took place President Thabo Mbeki visited Mogalakwena in Limpopo Province to review the progress
as scheduled on 7 September this of the i-Community project, in which Isett Seta has become a partner.
It’s no coincidence that this Because of this balanced blend of allowances, which are mandatory
issue of Isett News is skills, learners are ready to be by law. To lessen the load on
dominated by the latest productive employees by the time industry, Isett Seta has decided to
developments in learnerships. they graduate. Even if they don’t pour all available funding into
For a sector hard hit by the get permanent jobs with the providing financial support for
brain drain and the national companies who took them employers and training providers
shortage of work-ready people through the learnerships, their who participate in learnerships.
with technology skills, chances of finding employment
learnerships are a win-win elsewhere in the sector are The financial incentives are in place,
skills development solution. excellent. After all, each of the the learnerships are up and running
learnerships available through Isett and Isett Seta is standing by to
Isett Seta is putting its money where its In the words of Isett Seta CEO Seta has been specifically smoothe the way administratively
mouth is on learnerships, says Oupa Oupa Mopaki, industry wants designed to meet some of the … now it’s up to industry.
Mopaki, Chief Executive Officer skilled workers with practical sector’s most pressing skills gaps.
workplace exposure and
classroom training. That also Granted, getting involved in a
happens to be exactly what many learnership comes with a price
young job-seekers need to get a tag. Somebody has to cover the Clairwyn van der Merwe
toe in the door of this sector. costs of training and pay learner Editor
wants is skilled
workers with Small companies
needn’t miss the boat
classroom training’ While most large and medium- Merwe, senior manager of learnerships. “True, at least 30%
sized companies are firmly on business development at Isett Seta. of a learnership involves classroom
board the skills development training and a two-person
process, the majority of small Small players, big company can ill afford to lose one
enterprises are being left returns employee for that length of time.
behind – and they’re missing “Granted, small companies often But that can be overcome by
out. pay very small levies and may not teaming up with a larger company,
see it as worth their while to claim that can provide replacements
Latest statistics, published in Isett back by submitting workplace skills during the classroom training
Seta’s annual report for the plans and annual training reports,” phase.”
financial year ended March 2003, says Van der Merwe. “What they
show a strong overall increase, of don’t realise is that the benefits of He adds that Isett Seta is willing,
35%, in the number of companies doing this go well beyond just eager and able to facilitate this
submitting claims for skills grants. getting back their levies.” kind of partnership between small
However, there were striking and big companies.
differences in the claim rates of These benefits include access to
small, medium and large employers. funding that can cut their own
The report shows that under 14% training costs. “Take a small
of small levy-paying businesses Isett News is a quarterly newsletter for
company of two people who earn stakeholders of the Sector Education and
(those with fewer than 49 R200 000 a year and pays R2 000 Training Authority (Seta) for Information
employees) submitted claims for a year in skills levies,” says Van Systems, Electronics and Telecommunica-
tions Technologies (Isett). Distributed free
skills grants during the year. This der Merwe. “Compare that of charge to levy-payers, this newsletter is
contrasts starkly with the figure of R2 000 with the R31 000 per also available on the website at isett.org.za.
77% for companies with 50 to 149 learner that Isett Seta contributes
Editor: Clairwyn van der Merwe
employees, and with the 88% for learnerships, and you’re Editorial assistant: Bongi Mthethwa
claim rate among large companies talking about a return on Design and production: Visual Ignition
with more than 150 employees. investment of around 1 600%!” Editorial contributions for this newsletter
can be e-mailed to email@example.com
“This trend is cause for concern, He concedes that the limited or faxed to 011 805 6833 or delivered to
Gallagher House, West Wing, 3rd Level,
as small enterprises account for personpower of such small Block 2, Halfway House, Midrand. Please
85% of all levy-payers in this enterprises may discourage them note that the editor reserves the right to
sector,” says Wynand van der from getting involved in edit material.
To cut out delays and have submitted their Annual
administrative red tape linked Training Reports. Until then, their
to grant payments, Isett Seta is levy money sits idle in Isett Seta’s
working on a streamlined grant bank account. The Seta can’t touch
Plans to streamline grant payments will be
payment system that will it, because it belongs to levy- high on the agenda at Isett Seta’s
benefit levy-payers and the payers, and neither can levy-payers. upcoming regional roadshows for
stakeholders, says Wynand van der
Merwe, senior manager of Business
In the interests of productivity, Isett Development
Before going ahead with any Seta is considering a more flexible
changes, though, Isett Seta first approach that would give levy-
plans to test the waters with payers two choices. One is to
levy-payers. This will happen
during a series of roadshows
maintain the status quo, meaning
continue submitting annual
planned for the end of October
and early November.
Training Reports, and wait until
financial year-end for the full grant
payment. The second is to submit
Meanwhile, here’s a sneak preview
of the changes being considered
an interim Training Report, possibly
eight months into the financial
for disbursing Grant A and B year. In this case, the levy-payer Isett Seta is developing a series of short courses for small,
payments. would receive part of the grant B medium and micro enterprises in the ICT sector. These courses,
payment immediately after the available free of charge to all Isett Seta levy-paying SMMEs,
Grant A: more interim report has been approved, are aimed at helping companies to sharpen their business,
money, more often and the rest at the end of the
marketing and technical skills, by covering topics such as:
Currently, levy-payers qualify for financial year.
• Financial management for non-financial managers
Grant A payments once their
• Tender processes used in the ICT sector
Workplace Skills Plans have been Roadshows the place • Business strategy
approved by Isett Seta. Usually, to have your say • Business development and marketing
these levy-payers receive their first These proposals, says Wynand van • Time management
grant payment four months into der Merwe, senior manager of • Customised technical training
the financial year, after which Business Development, are aimed
monthly payments are made. at making life easier for levy- As the aim is to tailor all short courses to the specific needs
of small businesses, SMMEs interested in participating are
These monthly payments are payers and Isett Seta. “However,
invited to e-mail their suggestions to Wynand van der
typically very small, but take up a it’s important for us to have the
Merwe, senior manager of Business Development at Isett
disproportionate amount of buy-in of our stakeholders. Grant
Seta. Depending on demand, courses will be held in towns
administrative time and effort. For payment schedules will be high on or cities closest to participating SMMEs.
this reason, Isett Seta is the agenda of our upcoming
considering paying these grants stakeholder roadshows and the Please send your suggestions on short courses to
two or three times a year, instead more input we get from our firstname.lastname@example.org, along with details of:
of monthly, meaning that levy- stakeholders, the better.” • Your company’s name and contact details, including
payers would get bigger chunks of physical location.
• Your company’s core business and target market.
money back, with less red tape. Stakeholder meetings will take
• Specific skills that your company is interested in
place between 28 October and 4
Grant B: Cutting November, in Midrand, Cape • Your company’s Skill Development Levy Number
down waiting time Town, Durban and East London.
In the case of grant B payments, Details of exact dates, times and Large companies interested in becoming an
these are now paid once a year, as venues are on Isett Seta’s website Isett Seta partner for SMME development are
once-off amounts, after the end of at www.isett.org.za also invited to send in their suggestions.
the financial year when levy-payers
Major cash boost for
On top of existing tax breaks, practical working experience and Seven learnerships
Isett Seta has earmarked more theoretical knowledge. That same,
For as long as the available
than R50 million for direct extremely rare combination is also
To date, Isett Seta has developed
budget lasts, financial support to companies exactly what many young job-
and registered seven learnerships,
participating in industry seekers need to get a foot in the
including two new telecommuni-
Isett Seta is learnerships. door of this sector. Learnerships,
which blend workplace exposure cations learnerships. These are
committing in excess This money will be used to help and classroom training, listed, along with their official
these companies cover training accommodate both.” registration numbers, on page 5.
of R30 000 per costs and pay learner allowances,
with R30 760 allocated for every He points out that Isett Seta’s Says Mopaki: “We anticipate that
learner to help learner on a level 4 learnership learnerships have been designed the growing number of
and R37 480 for a level 5 specifically to fill pressing skills learnerships, together with the
learnership. gaps in the sector – meaning that new financial incentives offered,
training costs and learners acquire skills in high makes learnerships a very
Return on investment demand throughout the sector. attractive proposition for
learner allowances. “This level of financial support
“By the time they graduate, companies serious about skills
represents a major investment but
these learners are ready to be development.”
we’re convinced it will deliver
excellent returns – for learners fully productive employees. And
and for the sector,” says Oupa even if they are not given Turn to pages 7 for details on how
Mopaki, Chief Executive Officer permanent positions by the to get started on an Isett Seta
of Isett Seta. companies implementing learnership.
learnerships, their chances of
“What industry wants is a steady employment elsewhere in the
stream of skilled people with sector are virtually guaranteed.”
In one of the latest learnership agreements, 117 students from the CIDA City Campus ICT Academy are taking part in an IT Technical
Support Learnership in which seven companies are participating. Shaking hands on the agreement were Oupa Mopaki (left), CEO of
Isett Seta, and Wolfgang Jakob, CEO of T-Systems South Africa, the lead employer in the learnership consortium. The other
participating companies are Comptia, DEG, Cisco Systems, OutLearning, SAP and Sun Microsystems. As part of their learnership, the
students will be placed with the seven companies for five-week internships.
ready to roll
Two telecommunications registered learnerships available through Isett Seta. All employers
learnerships have been added undertaking any of these learnerships qualify for financial support to the
to Isett Seta’s growing tune of more than R30 000 per learner from Isett Seta, on top of tax
portfolio of learnership breaks on their taxable revenue of up to R50 000 per learner.
offerings. ‘The ground is
The seven learnerships, together with their official registration numbers,
Freshly registered and ready for are: fertile, all the
roll-out, the two new telecoms
1 Solutions Development/Programming (Level 5) 12Q12001500120 5
learnerships have been designed learnership systems
to suit the demands of South 2 Systems Support (Desktop) (Level 5) 12Q12001400120 5
Africa’s fast-changing telecoms 3 Systems Support Engineer (Level 5) 12Q12001100120 5 are in place and
environment and to overcome
4 Telecommunications Practitioner (Level 4) 12Q12001200135 4 we’re ready
industry shortages of skilled
technicians and practitioners. 5 Telecommunications Technician (Level 5) 12Q12001300279 5
6 Technical Support (Level 4) 12Q00001645175 4
The two latest offerings bring to
7 Systems Development (Level 4) 12Q00001737181 4
seven the total number of
Jabu returns to his
Isett Seta has filled the key After six years with the Depart- What’s more, the versatile Sibeko,
position of Senior Manager, ment of Labour, Jabu Sibeko who majored in Political Science
Operations, dramatically joined Isett Seta on 1 September and Industrial Sociology for his
enhancing its capacity to this year. As Senior Manager of BA degree from Wits University,
deliver on key sector skills Operations, he is responsible for is also familiar with the dynamics
development targets, Learnerships, Education and of employer-employee
particularly learnerships. Training Quality Assurance, Special
relationships. Before joining the
Projects and Isett Seta’s three
Department of Labour, he spent
regional offices in Cape Town,
three years as education officer
Durban and East London.
for the National Union of
On joining the Department of Mineworkers (NUM).
Labour in 1997, Sibeko was part
of the team who helped craft the Here at Isett Seta, the major
Skills Development Act and the challenge, he says, is to deliver
Skills Levy Act, paving the way for 3 500 learners by March 2005,
the establishment of the country’s with half of them self-employed
25 Setas. He further deepened his or in jobs within six months of
understanding of the skills completing their learnerships.
development scenario as Seta Already, almost 2 100 learners
liaison manager at the Department. are taking part in different ICT
learnership programmes, with
But it’s not just his skills
another 1 000 new learners
development background that
to be signed up over the next
gives Sibeko an edge in his new
position. He’s also no stranger to
the sector, particularly electronics.
“This is where my roots are,” he Sibeko is confident that these
says, referring to his 10-year spell targets are reachable. “The
at SA Philips, where he started out ground is fertile, all the
Jabu Sibeko has joined Isett Seta as senior
manager of operations, after six years with the in 1980 as a clerk and worked his learnership systems are in place
Department of Labour. way up to sales manager. and we’re ready to deliver.”
Learnerships in the limelight
Financial support from
Isett: how it works
For as long as the budget lasts, and R37 480 per learner on a quarterly progress report has
Isett Seta will provide direct level 5 learnership. The grants been submitted, and a site visit
financial support, in the form are paid in four separate has been conducted by Isett
of grants, for every learner instalments, over a 12-month Seta.
that a participating company period, to ensure that key learner • Another 20% is paid after a
enrols. These grants are milestones are met: second quarterly progress
intended to help cover training
report and site visit have been
and operational costs, as well • 30% is paid after the
as learner allowances. Learnership Agreement has
• A final instalment of 30% is
To qualify for tax been registered.
The grant consists of R30 760 per • 20% is paid when the learner paid on completion of the
rebates, employers learner on a level 4 learnership, has undergone assessment, a learnership.
have to meet the
conditions and Don’t miss out on
those tax breaks!
On top of Isett Seta’s direct year can the employer claim the ∆ Proof of compliance with all
by SARS. financial support for learner- full R50 000 rebate. requirements of the Skills
ships, participating employers Development Act. SARS is
can also qualify for handsome • Employers can claim back 100% developing a compliance
tax rebates through the South of the allowance paid to unem- declaration form for this
African Revenue Service ployed learners, to a maximum purpose.
(SARS). To qualify, however, of R50 000.
employers must follow the
• If a learnership terminates for
procedures and meet the • Employers can claim 70% of any reason other than the death
conditions set by SARS. Here the annual wages paid to an of the learner, SARS will recover
are some basic guidelines for employed learner, to a maxi- any tax deducation allowed.
claiming the tax incentive. mum of R42 500 for the year.
• Tax incentives can only be • New tax deductions are not
• Claims are made in two equal
claimed if a learnership allowed if there is a change of
parts: 50% of the applicable
agreement has been formally employer who is party to a
rebate can be claimed at the
registered with the employer’s learnership agreement.
beginning of the learnership,
Seta. SARS checks this with the
meaning when the learnership
Seta before approving claims. • Claims must be submitted on
agreement has been signed and
SARS form IT 180. This form
registered with the Seta. The
• There are two categories of can be accessed on the SARS
other 50% can be claimed
rebates, depending on whether website at www.sars.gov.za.
when the rebate has been
or not the learner is employed.
In the case of unemployed successfully completed.
• Full details of learnership tax
learners, the maximum tax
Other points to note when incentives can be found in the
rebate is R50 000 per learner
claiming tax rebates are that: Government Gazette published
per year. For employed learners,
• To claim, employers must on 5 August 2002. Although
the maximum is R42 500.
provide SARS with: published in 2002, the
∆ The name of the Seta with incentives apply to any
• In both cases, these are maxi-
mum amounts. It is important which the learnership learnership agreement signed
to note that the actual amount agreement is registered. on or after 1 October 2001.
claimed depends on the wage ∆ The title and code of the
or allowance paid to the learnership, as allocated by To view this Government Gazette,
learner. For example, only if an the Department of Labour. visit the SARS website, select
unemployed learner receives an ∆ The full names and identity ‘Legislation’, then select ‘Acts’,
allowance totalling R50 000 a numbers of the learners. then select ‘Act No 30 of 2002’.
Learnerships: how to
The financial incentives are in Also decide how many learners
place, the learnerships are up will be involved.
and running and Isett Seta is
standing by to smoothe the Step 3: Approach
way administratively … now Isett Seta
it’s up to industry. So how do With the basic groundwork laid,
you get started on the you can now submit your written
learnership road? learnership proposal to Isett Seta.
This step is crucial if employers
Step 1: Choose the want to qualify for the financial
learnership support available for learnerships.
Start with an analysis of the job
Standing by to
skills your company needs to The main points to spell out in smoothe your way
develop, then choose a learnership your proposal are: on the learnership
to match these requirements. road are Lihle
Companies in the ICT sector have • Your company’s skills levy Dlamini (top),
a choice of seven learnerships that number.
Manager at Isett
Isett Seta has registered with the • The job skills that your Seta, and Mary
Department of Labour. (See full list organisation wants to develop Woudberg,
on page 5.) Please note that Isett through the learnership. Learnership
Seta’s financial grants only apply to • Your choice of learnership. Coordinator
these seven learnerships. • The number of learners
participating and whether they
Step 2: Put the right are existing employees or
people and resources unemployed people.
in place • The training provider you have
Once you’ve chosen the learnership selected for the learnership.
that best suits your skills needs, the
next step is to decide how the Proposals can be sent by post or e- Step 5: Enter into a
training will be done and who will mail. The postal address is: Learnership
conduct it. You also need to Learnerships, Isett Seta, PO Box Agreement
identify the learners who will be 5585, Halfway House 1685. Emails This is a legal agreement between
involved, and how many. can be sent to Lihle Dlamini, the employer, training provider and
Learnership Manager, at learner. It applies for the duration
• Training providers: employers email@example.com or to of the learnership and spells out
can use a public, private or Mary Woudberg, Learnership the roles and responsibilities of
inhouse training provider. Bear in Coordinator, at each of the three parties. When
mind, though, that the training firstname.lastname@example.org. learners are unemployed, a second
provider will have to be agreement, in the form of an
accredited, either by Isett Seta’s Step 4: Processing Employment Contract, has to be
Education and Training Quality the proposal signed. This also applies for the
Assurance (ETQA) team or by If your proposal meets duration of the learnership.
that of any other Seta or requirements, Isett Seta’s
accrediting agency. Also Learnership department will Step 6: All systems
remember that at least 70% of a approve it and send you a Service go
learnership is based on practical Level Agreement (SLA). In this SLA, With the paperwork done and
workplace training. This means Isett Seta agrees to help fund the right people in place, it’s all
training providers must be learnership. It also asks the systems go. Isett Seta’s
equipped to handle workplace employer to state the percentage involvement will continue
and classroom training. of women, black and disabled throughout the learnership, in the
learners who will participate. form of quarterly site visits to
• The learners: decide whether assess progress.
your company will be sending
existing employees on the
learnership, or will be taking on
unemployed people as learners.
Learnerships in the limelight
also being targeted
An employer doesn’t have to learnerships as impractical, it’s from the smaller company (with
be big to participate in Isett anything but – especially if it Isett Seta carrying the learnership
Seta learnerships. In fact, even teams up with a larger company. costs through its contribution of
the smallest enterprises are more than R30 000 per learner).
ideal candidates for Here’s how this kind of Second, to avoid a situation where
learnerships. partnership could work in the small enterprise is shortstaffed
practice. First of all, the larger while a learner is away on training,
CONTACT While very small companies with company could agree to offer the bigger company could provide
IISETT S ETA
two or three employees may see workplace training to learners a temporary replacement.
Looking for learners?
T (011) 207 2600
T (011) 207 2600
FF(011) 508 6833
(011) 508 6833
Isett can help
Isett Seta has a ready-to-use database of hundreds of potential candidates for learnerships. Companies
wanting to participate in learnerships are welcome to use this database, which contains comprehensive CVs.
Cape Town The candidates are from all over the country and, although their experience and levels of education vary, all
T (021) 425 7736
T (021) 425 7736 have at least a matric certificate.
For access to Isett Seta’s database, please contact Mary Woudberg on 011 207 2608.
T (031) 307 7248
T (031) 307 7248 No pressure to
T (043) 742 3514
T (043) 742 3514
provide permanent jobs
Although Isett Seta encourages The reason for this lack of in high demand. Even if these
Call centre participating companies to offer pressure on participating learners don’t get permanent jobs
permanent jobs to learners employers is simple. All seven Isett with the companies implementing
086 112 0012
086 1112 0012
who successfully complete a Seta learnerships are specifically learnerships, they have a strong
programme through them, designed to address skills chance of finding employment
www.isett.org.za there is no obligation on shortages in the sector, meaning elsewhere in the sector.
employers to do so. that learners acquire skills that are
Learnerships in a nutshell
A learnership is a 12-month unemployed, an employment To heighten learners’ chances of
training programme that contract must also be reached for success, the learnership process is
combines theoretical training the duration of the learnership. continuously monitored. All learners
with hands-on workplace undergo assessment before training
training, resulting in a nationally To help employers pay training costs begins, as well as throughout the
recognised qualification. At least and learner allowances, Isett Seta learnership. Assessment methods
70% of each learnership consists makes a contribution of R30 760 include computer-based assessment,
of practical workplace training. practical assignments and on-the-
per learner on a level 4 learnership,
job assessment. Assessors could
and R37 480 per learner on a level
The three key parties to any include trainers, mentors, human
5 learnership. It’s important to note
learnership – learners, employers resources consultants and line
and training providers – must enter that these grants are linked to managers. The assessment process
into a learnership agreement that successfully completed learnerships, is overseen by registered
spells out their roles and which is why they are paid in moderators, from inside the
responsibilities. Where learners are instalments. company or outside.
1216 visual IGNITION