What are Learnerships in South Africa ?
Most South Africans have heard about Learnership Programmes, but what exactly is a learnership? Who does it benefit, how does it work? Who qualifies for, and how does one get access to, a learnership?
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South Africa has a very high unemployment rate, yet at the same time it has a shortage of qualified people to fill the many vacancies in various fields. In an effort to address both of these problems, the government looked for practical ways to educate the population and organise training systems for school leavers and unemployed adults. The introduction of learnerships has gone a long way towards achieving this.
What is a Learnership?
A learnership is a work-based learning programme. This means that classroom studies at a college or training centre are combined with practical on-the-job experience. We learn much better when we can practice what we have been taught in the classroom in a workplace environment.
By physically performing tasks that are learned in the classroom at the workplace, we can see what we have learned and what we did not understand. This allows us to ask the trainer to explain that part of the lesson again until we fully understand it.
Learnerships form part of a nationally recognised qualification that is directly linked to an occupation. This means that what you learn on a learnership is not just for the particular job that you can get once you have finished the learnership; it also forms part of a higher qualification that you can study further for through other learnerships or short courses.
Each learnership has a specific level of qualification. An artisan like a bricklayer or a beautician, for instance, is a Level 4 Qualification. This means that if you want to become an artisan you will have to complete 4 four separate learnerships (levels 1, 2, 3 & 4). There is no set time-frame in which you have to do these, as each level qualification remains in the system and will count towards the full qualification.