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1. The Minister of Labour is publishing Regulations about the skills grants to be paid by Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs). These Guidelines seek to explain the Regulations and provide advice to employers and others on how to claim grants.

Claiming grants: general information

2. Employers who are up-to-date with the payment of the skills levy can claim skills grants from their SETA. Their SETA is the one to which employers pay their levies.

3. Each SETA will decide the dates by which applications for grants must be made. They will let employers know about these arrangements. Employers may also approach their SETA for information.

4. Training providers and workers may also seek grants from a SETA. These grants may be given to projects, programmes and research activities if they support the implementation of the sector skills plan that each SETA has developed. Each SETA will publish details about the grants and how to apply for them.


5. There are six types of grants that an employer might claim. These are:

  • a workplace skills grant;

  • a workplace skills implementation grant;

  • a grant towards the costs of learnerships and learner allowances

  • a grant towards the costs of skills programmes;

  • a grant towards the costs of providing apprenticeship training; and

  • a grant towards a programme, project or research activity that helps the relevant SETA to implement its sector skills plan.

6. The first two grants - for the submission of a workplace skills plan, and for a subsequent implementation report on the training provided - MUST be paid by the relevant SETA as long as an employer submits the application correctly on time, as assessed by the appropriate SETA. The Regulations refer to these as mandatory grants.

7. The workplace skills planning grant is fixed as a percentage of the levies paid by an employer. An employer who makes an application on time and in the proper way will receive 15 per cent of the total of the levies s/he has paid. Similarly the workplace skills implementation report will be, in 2001/2, 50 per cent of the total levies paid and in 2002/3, 45 per cent of the total levies paid.

8. The other grants are discretionary and a SETA MAY pay these. It will decide the grants it will pay on the basis of the contribution that the skills development activities being proposed will contribute to the implementation of the SETA's sector skills plan. For example, there may be a number of requests for grants to support learnerships. If a choice has to be made between a number of different applications for such grants, the SETA will make its decisions on the basis of the priorities set out in its sector skills plan..

9. Each SETA will determine the amounts of all the other grants. Applications for these grants MUST be made and approved by the SETA before any training or other activity starts.

Consultation arrangements

10. Before describing each of the grants it is important to stress, that although the majority of grants are made to employers, the need for meaningful consultation between employers and workers prior to grant applications. This is fundamental to the success of the national skills development strategy.

11. It is important that employees are consulted about the person(s) to be designated as skills development facilitators, the workplace skills plan and the report on the implementation of the workplace skills plan. It is strongly recommended for organisations with more than 50 employees that a Skills Development Committee is established for the purposes of consultation on training matters. This committee, as a whole, should reflect the interests of employees from all occupational categories in the organisation's workforce. All trades unions that represent 10 per cent or more of the workforce or represent a significant occupational group should be invited to take part in this committee. A trade union that represents 80 per cent or more of the workforce may be the sole representative.


Workplace skills planning grant

12. Each up-to-date levy-paying employer may expect a grant from the relevant SETA, if:

  • at least one skills development facilitator is designated by the employer and the name is submitted to the SETA

  • a workplace skills plan is correctly submitted to the SETA at the appropriate time (see Annexure A of the Regulations)

13. A workplace skills plan is important to:

  • employers to provide a strategic basis for planning the development of the workforce and organisation

  • workers to provide opportunities for enhanced job satisfaction and promotion prospects

  • SETAs to assist in the identification of imbalances in the supply of, and demand for, skilled labour. This information can also be used by school leavers and unemployed people to inform choices about training options

  • the Government to assist in the development and review of the National Skills Development Strategy that must be demand-led and sensitive to labour market needs.

Skills Development Facilitator

14. Each employer, after consultation with the workforce, must designate at least one skills development facilitator. For multi-site or large organisations, more than one facilitator might be appropriate. Small employers, with less than 50 employees or with a sales turnover less than that specified in Schedule 4 to the Employment Equity Act (Act 55 of 1998), may wish to designate a skills development facilitator jointly. Employers should provide the skills development facilitator with the resources, facilities and training to enable her/him to perform the role.

15. The functions to be performed by a skills development facilitator are to:

  • assist the employer and employees to develop the workplace skills plan

  • advise the employer and employees on the implementation of the workplace skills plan

  • assist the employer to draft the annual report on the implementation of the workplace skills plan (see the details of the next grant)

  • advise the employer of any quality standards set by the SETA

  • act as a contact person between the employer and the SETA, and

  • serve as a resource with regard to all aspects of skills development.

16. If a skills development facilitator leaves the organisation, or for any other reason ceases to perform the role, the employer should designate another skills development facilitator and inform the appropriate SETA.

Workplace Skills Plan

17. Based on the analysis of business requirements and the skill needs of current staff, the workplace skills plan must define the skills priorities that each workplace will pursue, the training programmes that are required to meet and deliver those priorities and the staff who will be targeted for training -'the beneficiaries'

18. Each SETA will provide employers with the application forms to claim this grant, together with details of the dates by which completed forms must be submitted to the appropriate SETA. A SETA may also publish more detailed guidance on how to apply for this grant.

19. Each SETA is able to amend the outline design of forms included in the Regulations so that it can collect more sector specific data. A SETA may also simplify the form for organisations with fewer than 50 employees.

Workplace skills report grant

20. Employers who are up-to-date with their levy payments can claim a grant from the appropriate SETA if they submit a report each year on the implementation of their workplace skills plan before the date stipulated by the SETA. The form of this report is Annexure B of the Regulations, but a SETA is able to modify this to take account of sector differences. The implementation report is important to:

  • employers and workers to assess the progress that is being made

  • SETAs, to review progress and problems and to assist employers, workers and the sectors as a whole to determine any additional support and advice that might be required

  • Government, to inform the monitoring of progress in addressing skills development priorities and in identifying any problems that might need to be addressed.

21. Each SETA will inform employers of the dates by which applications for this grant must be submitted and each may issue additional guidance to assist employers to complete the implementation report.

22. Attached to these guidelines is a list of occupations that may assist organisations to complete the workplace skills plan and the workplace skills report.



23. Any employer may seek a grant from a SETA to support the implementation of learnerships. Each SETA will determine the level of the grant and details of the grant will be registered with the Department of Labour when each learnership is registered.

24. There are two possible types of grants to support learnerships. The first is a grant to offset the costs of implementing a learnership, (e.g. off-the-job education and training provider fees). The second is a grant that may be paid to subsidise the learner's allowance if the learner was unemployed immediately before starting the learnership. (a section 18(2) learner). The learner allowance must be in terms of the Learnership Determination published by the Minister of Labour on 15 June 2001.

25. It is a matter for each SETA to decide how many and which applications it will support. Each SETA will need to make its decisions in the light of the priorities of its sector skills plan and the amounts of money it has available to support learnerships.

26. A SETA must inform an employer whether or not it will make a grant before the learnership starts. The SETA will agree with the employer when the grant will be paid, e.g. if this will be in staged payments or only once the learnership is successfully concluded.

27. Each SETA will establish and publicise its criteria for approving the learnership grants.

Skills Programmes

28. Any employer may claim a grant towards the costs of providing skills programmes. It is for each SETA to determine arrangements for the applications for grants and the amounts. Any application for a grant must be submitted to the appropriate SETA, and approved by it, before the skills programmes start.

29. It may be that a person completes a series of skills programmes that result in a full learnership qualification. If the employer receives grants for the skills programmes, the total of the grants that the employer receives must be no greater than the grants s/he would have got had the employee undertaken a learnership programme resulting in the same final qualification.


30. There are, and will continue to be, apprenticeships, until the Minister of Labour declares a date after which all apprenticeships will become learnerships. It is still open to employers to seek to register apprenticeships.

31. Unless otherwise agreed, the appropriate SETA must honour any commitments to pay grants to employers that were agreed by a former Industry Training Board. It is for each SETA to determine and publish the level and criteria for new apprenticeship grants. Any grant must be agreed between the employer and the SETA before a new apprenticeship begins.

Sector Priorities

32. A major function of the SETAs is the implementation of their sector skills plans. In order to do this a SETA may make a grant to an employer, to a training provider or to an individual. For example, a grant might be to finance research or to develop the training infrastructure in a sector. The grants will be determined by each SETA, which will also publish details of how to apply.

Information contained herein in is based on documentation available from the Department of Labour's website   

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