What is a Learnership

Learnerships are a training programme that combines theory at a college or training centre with relevant practice on-the-job. There is no learnership if there is no on-the-job practice. The idea is that people really learn the “ins and outs” of an occupation by practicing all its aspects under the guidance of an experienced and qualified person. In order to become qualified themselves, learners will have to be assessed against occupational standards that have been agreed in advance by industry stakeholders. Learnerships are based on legally binding agreements between an employer, a learner and a Training Provider. This agreement is intended to spell out the tasks and duties of the employer, the learner and the Training Provider. It is designed to ensure the quality of the training and to protect the interests of each party. Employers can offer learnerships to their own employees or can recruit unemployed people for training. Current employees who are provided with learnerships are referred to as 18(1) learners. Unemployed people who are offered learnerships are known as 18(2) learners.

What are the benefits of a Learnership?

There are a number of reasons why employers should get involved in learnerships. They are a way to get more skilled people. Skilled people make better workers as they:

  • Are more likely to do the correct thing the first time and make fewer mistakes.
  • Are more likely to “get the best” out of their machines.
  • Tend to be more independent workers.
  • Are more motivated because they know why what they are doing is important to the overall business and might also be less likely to leave their jobs.

For the learner:

  • Provide easy access to learning
  • Increase employment opportunities
  • Assist in Career-pathing and Self-development
  • You learn while you earn
  • Acquisition of a formal qualification
  • Learnerships fast track the development of current employees.
  • They serve as an entrance into the industry for unemployed learners


Minimum requirements for Learnerships will differ from company to company. It would then be advisable to check with the appropriate SETA Learnership manager for the minimum requirements of the learnerships available.