What can be done when there are no Unit Standards to match beneficial training interventions? 13

There was a time when companies supplying highly beneficial training interventions – that did not match the sometimes archaic Unit standards – were grouped as Recorded Providers by the Services Seta. This ensured that they were in some recognised for their value. This has fallen by the way.

Many Unit Standards are based either on companies recording their own work, or on very old fashioned and didactic training outcomes and methodologies.

For example:- Diversity Training is often based on history, Apartheid and the effects thereof. Most people do not want to be subjected to this kind of training and prefer to know how to live and work together. So, evaluation questions – such as “Does the delegate have a knowledge of the history of South Africa – as it pertains to Apartheid?” may not have any relevance to the building of ubuntu and interpersonal relationships in a post-Apartheid South Africa.

We use methodologies that celebrate teams out of team conflict – which often is diversity, culture, personality… based.

If training is forced into limited US notions and ideas – we limit the very outcomes to which we aspire.

How do we go about creating Unit Standards that have relevance to new training outcomes and methodologies, that are being created every day. Or do we find all of the new creatively thinking organisations, which provide amazing solutions, and group them under a new title. This ensures that we do not lose the value and relevance of creativity and transformation – within the training/ facilitation/ consulting industries.

I would love to hear what you, and the SETAs have to say about this.

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13 thoughts on “What can be done when there are no Unit Standards to match beneficial training interventions?

  • Brian V Moore Post author

    Thanks Bianca,

    That is great input. And there are many wonderful points.

    The challenge is when the US is outdated – or even negates the new mind sets in learning.

    Learning, perceptions, views and methodologies are dynamic and should not be forced to fit into didactic training methodologies or archaic ideas.

  • Bianca - Anne P Moll


    I have a different view on this.

    My view are that the US as provided by SAQA gives us the outline of what is expected … and the SO, AC, EEK, CCFO have been design to speak towards what is intended with the US. To provide a standard for all training on that US. 

    However after dealing with the “intended” outcomes the US can still contain the information that you wish to bring in. Brian, with Diversity you will address what SAQA want but after that you can equip the learners with what you wish upon, your contribution will be your influence towards different cultures, your contibution will be made within the contents of the SAQA requirements but you are still free to bring it in.

    SAQA provides the standard, the standard each Provider is measured against but as a Provider you are free to address anything in the guidelines set by the US. To add more – to bring the meat to the bones. Everything can be fitted into existing US. Life Coaching can be fitted through various US, it is just the facilitation and the approach to the US. But it can fit into the US. It is a matter of finding what is suitable. Not requesting SAQA for new US or trying to override the existing framework.

    Everyone wants to decrease the Notional Hours due to profits and other reasons, it is more profitable to do training in less time but Education and Training / Skills Development was never intended, from the beginning of times, for Providers to make profits but were focussed on educating the learner. The Notional Hours is necessary for the LEARNER, THE CENTRE OF EDUCATION, not necessary addressing the needs of the Provider but addressing the needs of the Learners.

    Learning Material Developers will develop material according to the requirements of the Unit Standards, more in a generic application to the Qualification – yet upon receiving the material, the Provider should go through the Material and add his/her approach to it. Brian, what you are adding to education is good and I know people leaving your training sessions is empowered …. therefore you will add your material to the material as per the US – either intergrate it or just as an add in.

    Siyakhula NPO provides training on fundamentals, just that, but they bring much more to the table of the Learners – learners receive motivational talks, they receive Entrepeneurial skills and the add on is much more than the actual fundamental training, the notional hours is dealt with effectively and the learners receive acknowledgment through the Seta on the Fundamentals. 

    Soft Skills can be added to existing US – it is matter of adding, not making it the centre of the training session. Pretty much can be added to existing structures, it is just the way of doing it and the proper way of implementation.

    That is my view and I believe the Seta’s have a similiar approach. They might provide the answer more rigid but it will be in essence the same.

    Like said my view are different – diversity.



  • Brian V Moore Post author

    Dank U wel Petra.

    You are so right. Soft skills are hardly represented and the needs of the delegates change continuously. It is also made very difficult to set US for people at differing experience or educational levels – albeit that there is a need for certain understandings no matter how educated or experienced a person is.

  • Petra Penninkhoff

    I have no answer but am quite happy wit the question and looking forward to SETA comments. I am a Dutch national who worked in South Africa from 2006-2009 for a donor funded project. Recently I returned aiming to set up as an independent trainer and advisor. Much of the topics I trained on in my earlier stint, had (and still have) no matching US. I had hoped to find my wy around that by combining elements of a number of relevant US and then be a “recorded provider”. I notice that in my 3-year absence a lot has changed.  As a SDF in training I have been assessing a number of sector skills plans and noticed that  often critical and scarce skills hardly reflect the more “soft skills” such as communication, ethics, ptoposal writng etc. Would the fact that these topics are missing in the SSPs also be underlying the fact that US are outdated and the most needed ones are outright missing? If so, than getting matching (modern) US should start with the revisions of the skills gaps assessment processes in the workplace.

  • Brian V Moore Post author

    Hi Andre and thank you for your input. It is most appreciated.

    Your suggestion does help to a certain extent. It does not however cover the fact that a lot of training organisations cannot be accredited because their programmes do not match the existing and often out-dated Unit Standards.

    The fact is that there is a need for an accreditation status similar to the olde “Recorded Provider.” This is where we all eagerly await the SETAs comments.


    Good morning Brian

    You can still use the cost of  for training interventions that is not Unit Standard aligned. They need to be not more than 2 day long. They are seen as in house courses. You  have draw up a roster of the employees with their signatures etc.    This will be your evidence of the training. The cost is calculated by the hourly rate of the  staff that went on training times the hours in training. You cannot use the cost of the facilitator/trainer as it is part of their function to train. 

    External training is as per invoice but it must show it is short course i.e. computer training.

    I hope it helps

    Kind regards

    André Coetzee

    Green Door Consulting



  • Brian V Moore Post author

    Thanks Alan and Sylvia.

    This is a huge gap in the development of our people and effectively blocks the need or desire of training companies to develop new, exciting and powerful interventions.

    We will continue to do so – even if we are not to be accredited by the existing system which obviously has positives and negatives.

  • Sylvia F. Hammond

    Hi Brian, thanks for this excellent question.  I agree that the problem arises when the people writing the USs have a vested interest – be it in their own company or material.  The difficulty with adopting a systems and compliance model is that it invariably doesn’t allow for innovation and exploration.  We’ve been to the moon, so we set up systems and procedures to ensure that we can go to the moon again.  Adhering to that protocol almost certainly won’t help us to find out what else exists.  

    I have personal experience of companies that are ahead of the game – way ahead of unit standards.  Now how can we do accredited training for them?  With current pace – and cost – of QCTO “development partner” procedures anything produced is likely to be way out of date by the time it arrives. 

    I am particularly interested in a comment in the Green Paper that not all training should be unit standard based.  That has implications not only for what we are saying but also for all the B-BBEE scorecard evaluations that are fixated on training leading to qualifications.

    For related discussions see:

    Green Paper group on: http://www.skills-universe.com/group/green-paper-for-post-school-education-training and the actual Green Paper downloadable from

    Downloads section: http://www.skills-universe.com/page/downloads