Despite the many benefits of learnerships to employers, no learnership can be successful unless it has been managed successfully from the start. This usually requires determining whether your organization is structured in such a way that it is able to support the cost, time and other requirements of a learnership programme.

Tax Deductions

Those employers wanting to offer learnership programs can receive tax deductions for doing so. However, there are some requirements which must be met prior to deductions being given. First, the employer must have registered their learnership with the corresponding SETA. Second, there are several disclosure and administrative requirements that must also be met in order for deductions to be allowed.

As well, tax deductions are determined by the length of the learnership, what kind of remuneration is detailed in the agreement signed by both parties, and whether or not the applicant was employed by the company at the time the agreement was signed. Deductions also depend on whether or not the applicant is identified as a disabled person.

Why Should Companies Develop A Learnership Programme

Cash Grants

When an employer pays the skills levy, they are eligible for cash grants. These grants can be claimed once the employer provides training. These grants can be used to help the employer offset the costs of the learnership. They may also be able to get grants for learnership implementation. In order to determine the availability of learnership grants, employers are urged to contact the SETA for which their learnership is registered.

Learnerships Under 12 Months

An employer can receive 70% of a learner’s total remuneration if that learner is already an employee of the company. If the learner is not already an employee, the deduction can be the learner’s total remuneration.

For disabled learners who are existing employees, the deduction can be 150% of their total remuneration. For new employees identified as being disabled, the deduction amount is the total remuneration of the learner.

Learnerships More Than 12 Months

Those learnerships spanning more than 12 months, and where learners are existing employees will see 70% of the learner’s annual equivalent. New employees who are learners can get employers the annual equivalent of remuneration.

Disabled learners who are existing employees will  generate 150% of the annual equivalent of remuneration. Those who are new and identified as disabled will generate a deduction that is 175% of the learner’s annual remuneration equivalent.

Administrative Support

Administrative support is necessary in order for the proper recording of information. Because various competencies are likely to be tested throughout the learnership, the applicant’s skill levels will need to be assessed and recorded. But administrative support is just one aspect of successful learnership program management.

Management Must Be Present At Several Levels

Not only does the entire learnership system need to be managed properly – Skills Development Act objectives need to be met – but learners as well as providers must also be managed to ensure that learnership objectives are being met. Finally, those providers involved with the learnerships at several steps must be assessed for quality as well.


Depending on the learnership service provider being accessed, an attendance system may be available. This system can assist employers to be able to more accurately track how much time is spent on learnership projects and how well learners are adhering to the employer’s attendance requirements.

Many of these systems can be accessed online from any location. This system can also generate a billing report for easy submission to the proper bodies when the time for assessment or the distribution of grants and deductions arrives.

Learner Selection

Employers who wish to grant an already-employed individual a learnership need only continue with their current employment. The only difference is that a learnership agreement will need to be signed. Those who will be recruited as new employees will be required to sign both the standard employment contract and the learnership agreement.

Employers wishing to assist an unemployed learner by offering a learnership may find the help they need from their local labour centre, which should provide a recruitment and selection service.

Guest author Renee Stanfield is passionate about helping young people find options for internships and employment.  She recommends South Africa Learnerships and Jobs as a resource for South African citizens.