1. What is the purpose of the Skills Development Act?

The short supply of skilled staff is a serious obstacle to the competitiveness of industry in South Africa. The Skills Development Act of 1998 aims to:

  • Develop skills for the South African work force;
  • Increase investment in education and training and improve return on investments in those areas;
  • Encourage employers to promote skills development by using the workplaces an active learning environment;
  • Encourage workers to participate in learnership and other training programmes;
  • Improve employment prospects by redressing previous disadvantages through training and education; Ensure the quality of education and training in and for the workplace; and
  • Assist with the placement of first-time work-seekers.

The Skills Development Act aims to develop the skills of the South African workforce and to improve the quality of life of workers and their prospects of work. It also aims to improve productivity in the workplace and the competitiveness of employers and to promote self-employment.

  1. What is the aim of the Skills Development Levy?

The levy grant scheme, legislated through the Skills Development Levies Act, 1999, serves to fund the skills development initiative in the country. The intention is to encourage a planned and structured approach to learning and to increase employment prospects for work seekers. Participating fully in the scheme will allow you benefit from incentives and to reap the benefits of a better skilled and more productive workforce.

  1. What is the purpose of a Workplace Skills Plan (WSP)?

The Workplace Skills Plan serves to structure the type and amount of training for the year ahead, and is based on the skills needs of the organisation. A WSP should consider current and future needs, taking into account gaps identified through a skills audit, the performance management system, succession planning initiatives, and any new process or technology changes planned for the year.Management should discuss the company’s goals with employees who, in turn, should commit to the process of achieving these goals. In the process, Management gets the opportunity to discover talent as well as skills that they did know that they had.

  1. What is an Annual Training Report (ATR)?

This report consists of all attendance registers, proof of expenditure and the training provider used in this report so that the SETA can establish whether training was done or is in the process of being done.

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  1. Does one get a percentage of monies spent on training?

No. Mandatory grants are a refund against all monies contributed towards the Skills Development Levy and not on monies spent on training.

  1. What is a learnership?

A learnership is a work-based learning programme that leads to a nationally-recognised qualification. Thus, learners in learnership programmes have to attend classes at a college or training centre to complete classroom-based learning, and they also have to complete on-the-job training in a workplace. This means that unemployed people can only participate in a learnership programme if there is an employer that is willing to provide the required work experience. A learnership is aligned to the NQF and is usually between 12 and 18 months long in duration. Learners are paid a Stipend from the applicable SETA.


  1. Who must pay the levy?

The levy is calculated as 1% of your wage bill, payable monthly. All employers who are registered with the South African Revenue Service (SARS) for PAYE and have an annual payroll in excess of R500 000 must register with SARS to pay for the Skills Development Levy.

  1. What are the requirements for claiming back Discretionary Grants?

Each funding window has a different set of rules, which will be communicated to companies. For further details, please contact the relevant SETA.

  1. How does an employer register for the levy?

Every employer who is liable to pay the levy must register with SARS by completing the registration form, Form SDL 101, which is available from all SARS offices. In order to register, the employer must:

  • Obtain a registration form (SDL 101) from any SARS office, if not received by mail;
  • Choose from a list of registered Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) as indicated in the SETA classification guide provided with the registration form, the one SETA most representative of your activities; and
  • Choose a standard industry code (SIC) from the SETA classification guide which most accurately describes the nature and scope of your business.
  1. To whom are levies payable?

Levies are payable to the South African Revenue Service, which acts as a collecting agency for the applicable SETA.

  1. By when is the levy payable?

The levy must be paid to SARS not later than SEVEN days after the end of the month in respect of which the levy is payable, under cover of a SDL 201 return form.

  1. Is there any interest and penalty incurred for late or non-payment?

SARS will impose both interest and penalties for late or non-payment of levies.

  1. How do I register as a Skills Development Facilitator?

You can use the online Skills Development Facilitator registration form via the relevant SETA’s website or contact your regional co-ordinator. Your registration will be acknowledged as soon as it is processed.

  1. What is PIVOTAL Grant

PIVOTAL is an acronym which means professional, vocational technical and academic learning programme that resulta in a qualification or part-qualification on the National Qualification Framework (NQF).

  1. What is SIPS?

SIPS is an acronym which means Strategic Infrastructure Projects.

  1. What is meant by OFO?

OFO is an acronym which means Organising Framework for Occupations.

  1. What is meant by NQF?

The NQF is organised as a series of levels of learning achievement, arranged in ascending order from one to ten. Each level on the NQF is described by a statement of learning achievement known as Level Descriptors (below).

There is one set of level descriptors for the NQF.

The NQF is a single integrated system which comprises of three co-ordinated qualifications Sub-Frameworks. These are:

  • General and Further Education and Training Sub-Framework (GFETQSF)
  • The Higher Education Qualifications Sub-Framework (HEQSF)
  • The Occupational Qualifications Sub-Framework (OQSF)

The Sub-Frameworks have qualifications registered at the following NQF levels:

  • GFETQSF  – levels 1 to 4;
  • HEQSF  – levels 5 to 10;
  • OQSF – levels 1 to 6.

For NQF levels 7 and 8, the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations can motivate for a qualification only in collaboration with a recognised professional body and the Council on Higher Education, in a process co-ordinated by SAQA.

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  1. What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship combines workplace and institutional learning in a national trade occupational qualification. An apprenticeship is based on an agreement between the individual who wants to learn the trade and the employer who needs a skilled worker in a specific trade. Apprentices are paid wages for the duration of the apprenticeship, which is usually between three and four years. Wages are updated and published annually in the SEIFSA Main Agreement Handbook.

  1. What is a Stipend?

Employers must calculate their learners’ pay according to the number of hours worked. The Sectoral Determination 5: Learnerships applies to-

    • the employment of a learner –
      • who has concluded a learnership agreement; and
      • who was not employed by the employer party to the learnership agreement when the agreement was concluded; and
    • every employer who employs a learner.

The Basic Conditions of Employment Act applies in respect of any matter not covered by the sectoral determination.

Sectoral Determination 5 : Learnerships

  1. What is a TVET?

TVET stands for “technical and vocational education and training”. It is an educational term that is applied to certain post-school educational institutes,

  1. What is a skills programme?

A Skills Programme is a learning programme which is occupationally based and for which a learner may obtain a certain number of credits towards a registered qualification aligned to the NQF. It includes practical (work-place) experience and addresses the identified needs of a specific industry.

  1. What is provider accreditation?
23.  What is the QCTO? QCTO stands for Quality Council for Trades and Occupations. The QCTO is one of the three Quality Councils, each responsible for a qualifications sub-framework on the National Qualifications Framework. The Council for Higher Education (CHE) and Umalusi are the other two. The sub-framework that the QCTO is responsible for is the Trades and Occupations sub-framework.
24 What is the QCTO’s responsibility? The QCTO is responsible for standards setting and quality assurance of occupational qualifications on the Trades and Occupations sub-framework. The QCTO recommends to SAQA qualifications for registration on the NQF.
25 What is an occupational qualification? An occupational qualification is defined in the law as a qualification associated with a trade, occupation or profession resulting from work-based learning and consisting of three components, one for knowledge, one for practical skills and one for work experience. All occupational qualifications require a final test or what is called “an external, summative assessment” which, when successfully passed, signals to the world that the person is able to fully perform the work of the occupation.
26.  What process do I follow to initiate a process of developing an occupational qualification? The process of occupational qualification development begins when a person or an organisation (the applicant) submits a request to the QCTO for an Occupational Qualification to be developed. This can be in a letter, an e-mail or even a phone call. All are welcome to submit a request. The QCTO may be contacted at info@qcto.org.za The QCTO will advise and guide the applicant on the process to be followed.

submit a request. The QCTO may be contacted at info@qcto.org.za The QCTO will advise and guide the applicant on the process to be followed.

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27. What is a Development Quality Partner (DQP)? A DQP is an entity appointed by the QCTO and delegated to manage, on behalf of the QCTO, the process of developing an Occupational Qualification. The QCTO has developed processes that will ensure as far as possible that its Quality Partners have the capacity to perform their assigned tasks to the highest quality standards, which include integrity, transparency and fitness for purpose.
28 What is an Assessment Quality Partner (AQP)? An AQP is an entity appointed by the QCTO and delegated to manage, on behalf of the QCTO, the assessment process. An AQP is responsible for developing, maintaining and implementing external assessments. An AQP coordinates and manages external assessment processes. An AQP develops and maintains a national databank of instruments used in the external assessment. An AQP maintains a register of assessors and moderators from which assessors and moderators for the external summative assessment are selected. An AQP recommends to the QCTO the accreditation of skills development providers for the knowledge and or practical skills components. An AQP recommends to the QCTO the certification of learners.
29. What are the rules of combination for occupational qualifications? A minimum of 20% credits are required for each of the three components (Knowledge, practical skills, and work experience). This means that the remainder of 40% of the credits can be added to any component to support the purpose of the qualification.
30. What are the types of occupational qualifications that can be developed? The QCTO has two types of occupational qualifications, namely:National Occupational Qualifications : 120+ Credits National Occupational Awards: 25-119 Credits
31.  How do I get more information on the QCTO (e.g. policies, and other important information) QCTO information may be accessed from www.qcto.org.za. You will be able to access information on the QCTO e.g. policies, occupational qualifications in development, other important information.


  1. What is an Internship?

An internship is an opportunity for people with a degree or diploma to gain practical experience in a possible place of employment or in their field of study.