The latest SETA grant regulations have just been published. As expected the percentage of Mandatory Grant is reduced and the PIVOTAL grant introduced.



The stated objectives are to:

"regulate the proportion of funds available for skills development that is spent on

provide for Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) to contribute to
the cost of the work of the Quality Council for Trade and Occupations (QCTO);

discourage the accumulation of surpluses and the carry-over of unspent funds at
the end of each financial year;

improve the quantity and quality of labour market information received by SETAs
in the form of workplace skills plans, annual training reports and PIVOTAL
training reports, to inform planning;

promote National Qualifications Framework (NQF) registered and quality assured
PIVOTAL programmes that address priority scarce and critical skills needs
identified in sector skills plans; and

create a framework within which expanded use is made of public education and
training providers for the provision of skills development programmes.

The regulations also include the requirements for an additional section of the Workplace Skills Plan and Annual Training Report for reporting on PIVOTAL training.

The file will also be available in the Downloads section.

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Here are regulations for any of you that are interested.


Hi Ashwell, thanks the link is in the body and I've also saved it in the Downloads section - so nobody can say they can't find it :)  It surely is important information and I suspect the start of an entirely new phases of skills development and skills development facilitators - will they survive I ask myself - or will they see new openings and thrive?

Oops, me speed reading again. Sorry about Sylvia. That is a brilliant and possibly double-edged question for all of us. My overall feeling is that the focus is going to be very strongly focused on the quality of training planning, needs assessment and analysis, not just WSP fulfillment. The traditional bread and butter of many SDFs. The significant drop in the mandatory grant, will push organisations to either view it fundamentally as a tax, or get there skills development processes in working order if they are not. We could see some very haphazard shifts for some organisations and almost no changes in others that are doing the right things already, such as planning properly for training. The PIVOTAL training plan suggests that levy payers are really going to have to ramp up their capacity to conduct meaningful business-and-performance needs led analyses to quantify the learning and development needs. For others it will just mean a change to the WSP template and of course the SETA's will have to update and adjust their data management systems (DMS) to accommodate the changes. Getting back to your question, I think we have to treat this as a wonderful opportunity to redirect and grow ourselves, for some SDF's that have essentially been fulfilling a WSP compliance role, they have to actually learn how to conduct a robust training needs analysis and skills audits on behalf of their organisations or clients. Monitoring and evaluation of training impact and ensuring that providers and organisations do what they are supposed to are also likely to be growth areas for SDF's.

Sadly, like the private training provider situation we will see some attrition among the SDF's and the ETDP SETa accredited providers who provide SDF's training programmes. The organisations that view it simply as tax may sever there SDF services or maintain a very basic level of compliance, without conducting PIVOTAL planning and training, whilst others may still conduct the training, but not bother to record and report on it, because of some of the SETA-based bureaucratic issues in levy/grant management. Which is already the case in many organisations, surprisingly large ones. On that note, it still leaves SMME's, NPO's, exempt-levy payers and non-levy payers off the radar. All in all, putting some of the concerns aside, I still have to say as an SDF it is another fantastic opportunity to improve the way we do things. It was inevitable that the system would be reviewed and modified at some point. It is going to be more of questions of whether these changes may kill the goose that lays some kind of egg (I am not sure whether it is gold or not).

Hi Ashwell, Yes I agree with you.  I do believe that there are companies that will decide that the value received in return will be less than the cost of an SDF.

However, the Setas can raise their game in providing discretionary grants that have value for small business - the sector that actually grows jobs.  Unfortunately, my experience tells me that many Seta people have not worked in "business" and don't really understand how business owners think.  For small to medium sized business their concern is to run their business, survive day to day, and hopefully grow it - they are not concerned (and can't afford to be) about the national skills development requirement.

What is not clear to me in the PIVOTAL grants, is the ratio between the interventions and the percentage received back - example: if I have 2 interns and I will spend Rx on them, will I receive the exact cost back?  Is it the exact Rand amount, or is it a percentage?  So if there are 2 companies of the same size and one has 5 learnerships and the other has 10 - will the latter receive twice as much?  Is 1 apprenticeship = 1 learnership = 1 internship in percentage value?

What has come to my attention already - with just a few Setas so far - is that their interpretation of what constitutes a PIVOTAL programme differs - that I wasn't expecting.  I expected different Setas to support different interventions based on their sectoral needs, but not that the definition of what constitutes a PIVOTAL programme would differ.

Appreciate your thoughts on that.

Hi Sylvia,

As long as the DOHE (like the DOL before them) continue to measure SETAs on mere numbers (number of Learnerships, number of PIVOTAL-grant interventions, etc.) they are not going to "raise their game" as we would hope. They will talk about SMMEs, but will only really connect if it adds to the all-important numbers.

That's something that has to be fixed.  But we are not, at a national level, really committed to new jobs, are we?

Thank you very much Sylvia, I think most SETA's will try and take an organic and flexible approach to what qualifies as PIVOTAL and what would be the hierarchy and grant structure. Which may ultimately be very confusing and may lead to some operational issues and a contact of mine has stated that they are working on a set of PIVOTAl guidelines to assist the SETA's with the implementation. It is also going to be about levels of grant disbursement as much as categorising and defining them. Will there be different levels of grant disbursement based upon the various Sector Skills Plan and Labour Market Indicators? The labour market information system (LMIS) approach seems to be one of the other talking points that may influence what skills needs/demands will be designated as being eligible for PIVOTAL status and therefore we may see the recent SSP annual update approach being one of the tools utilised by the SETA to define what will be designated as PIVOTAL. The influence and role of non-SETA ETQA's such as the SABPP have a key role in this as well, as they are non-levy income organisations, whose professional qualifications and post nominem designations have a profound influence in certain sectors. Will there qualifications be eligible for PIVOTAL status too? I am trying to source further information on it and will share as soon as I get something of relevance.

Dear Sylvia, we're wanting to register with SETA as a training academy> I've been reading everyone's posts and links etc. I'm very confused now as to where to get started and the process thereafter.  Can I ask you to please guide me in the right direction with regards to registering with SETA.        

Thank you very much for your guidance

Regards in Image


Hi Alan

This is horrendous to say the least. I have spoken to some employer associations in other sectors this morning and they are equally surprised but all agree that something has to be done.... indeed things are going too far.

We were expecting the drop to 40%, and had made contingency plans for that.  Was not expecting 20%, and other folks I have spoken to are equally surprised.  This will have a major impact on our activities.


Will be interested to see how the SETAs mobilise to implement this!

And so the Skills Levy becomes more and more what many said it always was, a tax, rather than a levy-grant.

While providing employees with qualifications via FET colleges is a great idea, the content does not suit all employers, and the fact that the pivotal grant is (as I understand) for unemployed workers, it means that the entire Pivotal grant is available only if you as an organisation are able and willing to provide bursaries into your community.  That's not a levy-grant system, that's a State-directed bursary scheme funded by a tax on employers.  That's not necessarily bad or wrong, but let be honest and transparent about what we are doing.

what a shocking drop (20%).


Section 6(12) states 'At least 80% of discretionary grant funding must be allocated to PIVOTAL programmes.'

However it is not clear to me what the total discretionary grant funding allocation will be as a % of the levy which can be claimed back by the employer?




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