Definitions of Learnerships, Internships and In-service training

By sylviahammond, 1 December, 2023

Friday is member Self-Help Day.  Many members find great difficulty with all the terms used on the site.  The following simple description gives you a start to distinguishing between Learnerships, internships, and In-service training.


– an occupational qualification
- contract is set out in Skills Development Act (SDA) 
– includes apprenticeships (included in definition in SDAct but many apprenticeships are still running under the terms of the old Manpower Training Act)
– consists of theory & work-based experience, with formal assessment and a qualification
- if already an employee when started s18(1) SDA - employment continues
- if unemployed when started s18(2) SDA, then contract ends once completed, but may lead to being offered employment, if good performance, and results, and reliability during programme.
Setas may offer grants to employers from discretionary grant funds.  The 18(2) learners receive a stipend (allowance/payment) determined by the Learnership Sectoral Determination - paid from the Seta funds. Employers also receive tax incentives.


Internships – there are two types of internships

The Undergraduate Internship 
- run by large national and multi-national organisations
- usually paid
- attendance during term holidays for undergraduates who are picked to attend
- short duration - of a few weeks
- may lead to organisation offering the best graduates a job, once they qualify.
All costs covered by the organisation.
The Graduate Internship
-  work experience after qualification completed
-  paid or unpaid
- of variable duration from a number of weeks to one or two years
- practical  work experience in job that should be related to the qualification obtained
- preferably under supervision of a qualified practitioner
- should not be filling a core position that should be filled permanently
- contract ends at completion of Internship, may be offered employment if vacancy exists and performance has been acceptable.
Setas may offer grants to employers from discretionary grant funds.
In-service training 
- practical work experience during studies and usually after one or two years of theory are successfully completed
- essential work experience that is part of the qualification and necessary to achieve the qualification
- may be paid or unpaid or a small allowance to cover travel costs
- duration usually 6 months to a year.
Setas may offer grants to employers from discretionary grant funds.




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