Do Setas insist on all learners being present for a verification visit?


My organisation is accredited with the Health and Welfare Seta. i would like to ask if any of you who are accredited with other SETAs are required when SETA comes for their verification visit to have ALL your learners in attendance. HW SETA have just sent me a preparatory letter for our next verficiation visit to say that ALL our learners must be on site.

We train all over South Africa on our clients sites. There is no way that any of our clients would be willing to: 1. Pay for their employees to travel all the way to JHB just for a SETA verification visit and 2. Release their employees from their work and suffer the down time and loss of productivity that such an exercise would cause.

I have entered into a discussion with the CEO and accreditation manager at the SETA and would like to know if this is practised at any of the other SETA and if not - why HW SETA would have such a requirement.  

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Hi Linzi,
Just another example of ETQA's inability to contextualise each and every provider's circumstances. There is this very narrow and unimaginative view that a provider carries out all their training on their own premises and all providers offer qualifications. To deal with providers outside of this narrow viewpoint is a little distressing to them, although it shouldn't be. Just remember that the majority of the ETQA people who work with providers have little or no experience themselves of a training provider operation.

Basically it is up to providers to enlighten the ETQA personnel as to the reality of their situation, and to reach an acceptable outcome. As a reference I normally go to the SAQA Guideline and Criteria documents, which is what the ETQA's should be working towards. Unfortunately there is no consistency amongst the ETQA's in how they apply these guidelines as each one has developed their own little rules according their individual interpretations (interpretations based on no experience as a provider?).

Be patient. I heard somewhere that patience is a virtue. At this stage most of us must be eligible for sainthood by the vast amount of virtues gathered through endless patience. The need for all learners to be on site is unrealistic and uncalled for. Verification does not require 100% of anything, unless the circumstances so require. Generally, during the planning of the verification, an acceptable sampling percentage should be agreed by both the provider and the verifier. I get a little annoyed at the dictatorial attitude practiced by ETQA's.

The sampling rate should be acceptable in terms of the reliability of results, determined by the verification, in relation to the total number of whatever is being verified. Sampling rates have been used by many professions for many decades, and their results are accepted. No reason for ETQA's not to to do the same. Also no reason to waste your time, the Learners time and the employers time. That is not within their mandate.

Check out the old expired Verify moderation of Assessment Unit Standard 7978 and the current Unit Standard 15191 Evaluate ETD Providers. These contain the process of evaluation/verification, and you may find something useful to put forward to the ETQA in terms of your upcoming verification visit.

Good luck! Give me a call if you need any support.
Hi Linzi

We are accredited with HWSETA and I don't believe that we have ever been requested to have any learner present - that is ludicrous! I would love to hear what the CEO and accreditation manager have to say!

I am accredited with ETDP SETA and have never had to produce learners when they come to do verification visits..
It seems highly impractical - suggest you challenge it..

We are acredited with a MAPPP seta and I do all my training on site. They have never requested the learners to be there. They just want to see our filing systems and premises.
Hi Linzi

I helped a lot of training providers get accredited with other SETA's, including HWSETA. None of the SETA's have ever requested this. All SETA's do however request that you provide them with an Attendance register with learner's name on and their details, but I have never heard this new request.
I am sure that you have heard about some SETA's that have been put under administration and some SETA's where the senior management including the CEO got suspended for wasteful expenditure. SETAs are public entities therefore they conduct business according to the public finance management act, therefore before they pay, they must be sure that the work has been done. We have seen gost learners before, training providers have been paid before while learners have not received any training. You can give explaination to your SETA that your learners are accross SA so that they (SETA) can conduct verification in all nine provinces.

We are accredited with the INSETA and MERSETA, this is not a requirement with these SETA's.
Regards, Isobel
Hi Linzi. It is totally unnecessary for the learners to be present at the verification visit. The moderation process is a check on the assessor that the practices have been carried out correctly and generally SETAs only require up to 25% of all assessments to be externally moderated. The same applies to verification visits. It is a check that the assessment and moderation practices have been carried out correctly. Should it be necessary to contact a learner this can be done telephonically and hence the request by some verification authorities to see the attendance list. I have worked with a number of SETAs and have never been asked for the learners to be present at the verification visit. It would be interesting to hear what the HW CEO and Accreditation people have to say! Regards Janelle
Hi there Linzi

the company i consult with had a THETA verification visit yesterday 30/08/2010, there is obviously a verification checklist they gave us, which addresses issues of the QMS and surely there is nowhere that it states learners must be there. Remember the POEs and QMS and Systems in place are paramount to anything else.

The system used by HWSETA is more like a Council of Higher Education verification, and since you have no learners on site and they are in far flung areas, surely that criteria needs to be ticked off against the learner support, preparation and induction material and section of your QMS.

Remember you can always call the prospective verifiers to outline this as a concern and you will be surprised that it might have been put there as a measure to verifier the nursing colleges, where learners are on-site unlike yours
Hi Linzi,
Our Company is registered with SASSETA and have done numerous verifications since registration. They have never insisted that all learners be present during verification. It is advisable to have the moderators and assessors available on request. These can also be availbale for telephonic interviews if required. Verifiers main duty is to ensure that the process is followed according tothe standards.
We are with THETA and on the odd occasion we have been asked to have learners present we have simply pointed out where they are, and that it is totally impractical, and they have always seen reason and backed down on the request.

As all our training occurs at the worksite of the learner, IF a verifier wanted to see the learner it is my policy that the verifier must go to them not the learner leaving their worksite to go to the varifier.
Thanks to all of you who have replied to my query. We have attendance registers and learner data forms for each learner so they can be contacted telephonically if the verifier needs to verify that they are not "ghost learners". We also have the name of the company and the name of the manager who ordered such training should the SETA wish to contact them regarding the quality of the training provided. We also have portfolio's of evidence from each learner. Surely this is enough evidence for the SETA?
I have still not heard from either the CEO or the Accreditation manager although I have email evidence that my email was received and read by the CEO but not by the accreditation manager. Will keep you all posted....


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