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Firstly I would like to state that I am a true believer of learnerships. Since 2003 I have been involved in learnerships and I have had learners that we took on in our business who have gone on to achieve amazing career break-throughs. I have also mentored learners and have had the privilege of seeing them grow. But I wonder if stipends are a good thing or if as a nation we have not created a monster it will be difficult to rid ourselves of.
It is a rather strange statement to make considering some of the learners I have had have supported whole families with their monthly stipend. I marveled at the fact that some of these learners were using their stipend of R1,500 per month to contribute to household needs as well as ensuring the money covers their travel and subsistence. We are told that the stipend is for the learners to get to work and cover their lunch, those of us who have been involved in learnerships know that the reality is far from what we are made to believe.
This stipend has become so important that learners march onto their municipalities if payments are delayed. Some even down tools and threaten to go to the SETA or DHET to complain, some even CCMA.