Sector Education and Training (Seta) responsibilities are clearly set out in the Skills Development Act: chapter 3 on Seta responsibilities and chapter 4 on Learnerships details the requirements for learnership contracts.
Skills-universe has been provided with a copy (see below) of the letter sent to a training service provider requesting that they "hold off" on submitting further applications as no Learnerships applications have been accepted by the Services Seta since November 2012.
The response from the training service provider (also copied below) lists the concerns about this state of play, amongst others: on the implications for employment and learners, and company B-BBEE scorecard ratings, PIVOTAL grants, and the extreme urgency for clarification.
While skills development practitioners will be aware that the Services Seta has been under administration and that there is a major initiative to ensure financial probity of the Seta, it appears that the Services Seta is also refusing to accept unfunded learnerships. That is, the company is meeting the full cost of the learnership and the requirement from the Seta is the administrative management of the Learnership agreement and ensuring the quality assurance requirements are met to ensure certification.
Given that in terms of the NQF Act, the QCTO is now responsible for quality assurance, if the Services Seta is unable to fulfill their legally delegated responsibility for quality assurance, does this responsibility now revert back to the QCTO?
Communication from Services Seta by the KZN Provincial Manager
The Services SETA is in the process of reviewing the current unfunded learnership procedure and is therefore requesting all employers to hold off on submitting an unfunded application to the Services SETA Regional office.
We are not processing any learnership applications received from November 2012.
If you need clarity on your submission, please call through to the office and speak to Raymond Mpisane.
The new process will be released early in the New Year."
"Dear Services SETA Provincial Manager
Thank you for meeting briefly with me today to confirm that the SSETA has put unfunded learnership applications on hold. I feel that I must express our, and your stakeholders’ dismay at this decision and appeal to you to forward this objection to the individuals who have made this decision without consultation with the stakeholders.
May I suggest that this decision is repealed, and that a window period is allowed (6 months or so) to allow your stakeholders to plan accordingly. Failing which, I fear that the SSETA will suffer a further setback and skills development and support will suffer and set the process of building necessary scarce and critical skills back.
The country does not need this.
I look forward to the SETA’s response."
Our company had received confirmation from the Services SETA for 120 Learnership allocations. We planned and developed our project around this commitment. The contracts are with their legal department for the past 3 months.
After 8 months, numerous meetings and endless emails, our client decided that they cannot wait any longer and withdrew their commitment to this project....the result...120 NEW JOBS LOST!
What more can I say...
Thanks for your response Hennau - did the meetings cast any light on exactly what the reason for the delay is?
The only logical reason given is that the contracts are stuck @ legal and it is an issue of vetting the service providers. I know that they have huge internal issues with many resignations and dismissals...
We had a meeting with them on Friday last week. The person that we had to meet rocked-up 45 minutes late...while sitting @ reception we could see people sleeping at their desks. We were promised feedback by Monday luchtime....it is now Thursday...and she is not taking our calls.
Vetting the training service providers seems a reasonable and necessary basic requirement - but how long should that take I wonder? What are they vetting them for?
People sleeping at their desks doesn't sound very professional. I'm assuming it wasn't lunch time, but even then in sight of reception visitors doesn't look good. I suggest that the next time you see that you take a photo with your cell phone and send it to the Minister of Higher Education and Training - and post it on skills-universe.
Do what I did when our certificates were delayed for years - and our clients were beginning to look at us sideways. Present yourself at their offices, demand in a very loud voice to see the top mangement, blow smoke out of your nose, throw blood on the walls and REFUSE to leave until you get what you came for. Stop being Mr Nice Guy - it does not always pay - remember, we are their customers.
PS Since then, I must admit that the service has improved. But they have still got a looooong way to go before their reputation improves.
Very good advice Irene, thank you.
As a matter of fact, I think I need to shout louder next time as the people were sleeping at their desks and obviously could not hear me ;-)