One of the South African labour market’s major challenges is that large numbers of the country’s workers are under skilled, which hinders productivity and consequently our ability to compete on a global level. Many companies are making efforts to address the widespread skills shortfall by offering their employees skills-development training. In fact, this is considered so vital that employers who invest in skills training benefit greatly when it comes to their BBBEE scores.
To ensure good-quality skills development, Sector Education and Training Authorities were established in the late 1990s. There are currently 21 SETAs, each with the responsibility of assessing and accrediting training providers in every sector of South African industry—from agriculture, fisheries and forest services to financial services, safety and security services, and mining.
The main role of the SETAs is to construct a framework in which all South Africans, employed or unemployed, can develop their existing skills, learn new skills, acquire qualifications, and contribute meaningfully to the country’s economy.
SETAs have various roles when it comes to overseeing the skills development landscape. Among the roles that each SETA fulfils are:
The cornerstone of this mission is the establishment of SETA-accredited training courses, which carries massive benefits for employers and employees alike.
Employees, or potential employees, who attend a SETA-accredited course can first and foremost rest assured in the knowledge that they have completed a training course that has met their industry’s SETA requirements, meaning that they have learned relevant, high-quality skills from a well-qualified, reputable trainer. Any qualifications they earn this way are solid as rock.
Secondly, SETA-accredited courses are nationally recognised by employers in that industry. This can open up new opportunities for employment and self-improvement in ways that non-accredited training just does not. Furthermore, some SETA-accredited courses carry NQF credits, which count towards full formal qualifications.
Simply: peace of mind, profit, productivity and prestige.
SETA-accredited skills development is money well spent. The nationwide recognition of SETA-accredited training means that the courses completed are reputable, thorough and relevant.
In terms of BBBEE scorecards, SETA-accredited training counts strongly towards the skills development score, and also allows employers to benefit from tax rebates, as they can claim back against skills development levies. It also functions as a cost-management measure, thanks to a potentially reduced payroll bill. Employers offering their employees SETA-accredited training can also access SETA funds for staff training.
Not only does using a SETA-accredited trainer maximise potential BBBEE points, it also ensures that employers have a workforce well-equipped with up-to-date industry-specific skills, cutting back on time and productivity lost to error or lack of knowledge. In addition, employees trained in SETA-accredited courses come away considerably upskilled, which should boost output and efficiency, and thus revenue.
Lastly, providing SETA-accredited training for employees strengthens an employers’ credibility and reputation in their industry and community, as it becomes obvious that they have a well-trained, skilled workforce, and that they care about the welfare of their workers.