Skills Development Providers (SDPs) & Training Providers

3rd Degree Programme on Damelin Brits – and unaccredited short courses

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    sylvia hammond

    For those who didn’t catch the 3rd Degree programme on eTV, this is a brief summary as I understood it:

    3 students were interviewed with similar stories, they had paid for courses and completed them, but had not received their certificates – for months and in one case it seems up to a year.

    Two had paid for themselves (one by obtaining a loan) and one student had received company sponsorship.  The latter was for Production Management and the others for Office Admin and Computer Skills.

    When they pursued the certificates, they were generally sent from pillar to post, to Head Office Damelin in Durban and back again.  The owner – one “Estelle” apparently disappeared and stopped taking calls at some stage in this process.

    Debra Patta interviewed a representative of Damelin, who advised that Damelin offers both accredited programmes and short courses.  The short courses require a form to be signed to acknowledge that the students understand that they are not accredited courses. (Non-credit-bearing courses.) 

    Debra said that there is no proof that such documentation exists at Damelin Brits and the students say that they did not know this.  Damelin Brits is a franchise operation and the HO representative indicated that the procedures were apparently not followed.  But the learning requirements were followed and so the Head Office did issue certificates. 

    Apparently the short courses are between 12 – 24 weeks and the representative said were: “designed to meet the immediate needs of students”. The short courses according to the students – cost between R8,400.00 and R10,000.00 – from the figures they said they had paid.

    Debra Patta repeatedly asked whether the students would get their money back.  She was told that the students have received their certificates for their short courses and that if they are still unhappy that they should follow legal procedures to recover their money.

    Some questions arising from the programme:

    a) The Damelin Brits franchise operation is apparently in liquidation – how much will it cost for these students to recover their monies through legal processes – and will that even be possible?

    b) Is this the normal cost for a short course of 12 – 24 weeks between R8,400 and R10,000?

    c) How does the accreditation and registration work for franchise operations?

    d) Is it correct to completely discount non-credit bearing courses?  How does one assess the value of a non-credit bearing course?  Surely if there is work-relevant learning, it has a value?

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    Clayton Tlaka

    I watched that disheartening show and i do agree with you Sylvia. If Damelin can charge such ridiculous amounts for short courses, i shudder to see what they charge for their credit bearing courses. Even if these learners can recoup their monies legally, its going to take years and will be very costly for them. I would have loved to see the franchisor taking some responsibility in this saga.

    Siyabonga Dilimeni

    Hi Sylvia,

    Thanks for bringing this issue forward to the portal. I think I am not qualified to directly answer your questions (a-d) but the anger in me, I cannot help but to respond!

    There’s many many cases like this, and it is so sad that no drastic action is taken against these institutions. I come across this more often in studies such as Nursing, Computer Studies, Admin etc.

    Can you believe that almost 9 out of 10 Secondary School Teachers I have spoken to CANNOT tell you what the NQF, SAQA or even ACCREDITATION is?

    I mean if Teachers at High School level doesn’t understand the ‘current post-matric education landscape’, how are we expecting them to give guidance to the secondary school leavers?

    [at the end of the day who becomes the victim of suffering, failure unemployment and crime  ————>THE YOUTH!]

    sylvia hammond

    Thanks Clayton – yes the cost is concerning.  The question I have on that is: do all the Damelin franchises charge the same and offer the same courses, or is there a standard menu of courses and of charges?

    Genewade Manuel

    Hey Sylvia

    I am so happy that this has finally come to light…I am an ex-damelin franchise employee and I know of many students whom is still awaiting their certificates for Diploma,Certificate and short courses completed. I get stopped in shopping malls etc by students and parents telling me that they have not received the certificates since 2009…this is unbelievable and what’s more shocking is that the head office couldn’t assist them and claims they have no record of them (quoting a learner). Its weird that there’s no record as it is required by all Damelin’s to send record to HO. I hope that this matter will be resolved and that the people/students will get justice in all fairness to them.

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