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A learnership is a structured learning process for gaining theoretical knowledge and practical skills in the workplace leading to a qualification registered on the NQF.

A learnership is outcomes-based and not time-based qualification and allows for recognition of prior learning. Learnership duration varies but the average is about 18 months.

Note: In practice, to attain an artisan equivalent qualification (NQF level 4) four separate learnerships will have to be completed (i.e. qualifications at NQF levels 1, 2, 3 and 4 will have to be attained).


  • Learners may be existing employees or new entrants.
  • Learners must meet the entry requirements for the particular learnership as determined by the qualification requirements on which the learnership is based and learners must meet the selection criteria determined by the organisation taking on the learner.


  • Employers are workplace approved and are required to meet the pre-registration criteria.
  • Training providers are accredited to provide the chosen learnership by the merSETA ETQA
  • Qualified assessors are available (either in-house or contracted in)
  • Companies advertise learnership opportunities using the media of their choice
  • Learners may apply, following the company process as advertised
  • Prospective candidates and opportunity seekers are encouraged to upload their information on the Department of Labour online website as Employers/Companies may recruit from the Employment Services for South Africa (ESSS) database https://essa.labour.gov.za/EssaOnline/WebBeans/
  • Learner is selected by the company recruitment process
  • Learnership agreement is signed between the employer, provider and learner (tripartite agreement)
  • Short-term employment contract is signed between the employer and the learner if the learner is unemployed
  • The learning programme and process is discussed and agreed to with the provider
  • Employer funds the learnership, through grants obtained from the merSETA
  • Employer and provider provide relevant learning and experience, working closely to manage the learnership process
  • Learner is provided with support through mentoring and feedback
  • Learner is assessed by a qualified assessor (formative and summative assessments)
  • The merSETA Quality Assessor is called to undertake moderation of the assessment and internal moderation must be undertaken by the provider
  • On successful completion of the learnership, a national qualification is awarded to the learner
  • Learner receive a statement of results for unit standards achieved if learnership is not successfully completed
  • Once the learnership is completed, the employer can decide whether to sign the learner on for a new learnership, employ the learner or release the learner for future employment by another organization, if he/she was originally unemployed

Benefits to companies

  • Access to progressive and high demand training.
  • Access to resources.
  • A centralised source of co-developed assets and services.
  • Regulatory incentives/support (i.e. BEE Credits).
  • Management of workforce through NGO and 3rd party providers.
  • Access to cutting edge job portal platform.
  • Overview of trends and thought leadership on skills development, job creation and employability.

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