The Core Business Unit is one of the vehicles through which the Services SETA delivers its mandate to facilitate skills development. Its functions are the following:
Accreditation of Skills Development Providers
The Post-School Education and Training Sector is gradually transitioning to Occupational Qualifications. A key component of occupational qualifications is work experience, which enhances employability. The three components of learning (i.e knowledge, practical and workplace experience) should be integrated into a work project. Accreditation is valid for a period of five years from the date it was granted by the Quality Council for Trades Occupations (QCTO) or until the SDP is de-accredited by the QCTO.
The Quality Council for Trades Occupations (QCTO) is responsible for the accreditation of Skills Development Providers (SDPs) to offer programmes and qualifications that fall under the Occupational Qualifications.
Any SDP that wishes to offer training in qualifications or part qualifications must apply for accreditation from the QCTO.
The Services SETA ceased accepting accreditation applications on 30 August 2022. Only pending applications will be processed.
- Historical qualifications on the Occupational Qualifications Sub-Framework (OQSF) expire on 30 June 2023. Learners cannot be enrolled on historical qualifications after 30 June 2024.
Registration of Constituent Assessors and Moderators
As a condition of accreditation, SDPs must enter into Service Level Agreements with registered Constituent Assessors and Moderators. Constituent Assessors and Moderators apply for registration with the SETA that administers the qualification. The SETA processes and registers assessors and moderators.
Initiation and Implementation of Discretionary Grants
The Services SETA Accounting Authority allocates discretionary grants for skills development at its discretion. Discretionary Grants account for 49,5% of SETA funding, 80% of which must be allocated to learning programmes aligned with qualifications.
As part of its annual funding targets, the Services SETA advertises discretionary grants or strategic partnership projects. Stakeholders who qualify for discretionary grants are awarded grants to enrol learners in various learning programmes in accordance with available funds.
When issuing discretionary grants, the SETA considers its Sector Skills Plan, transformational imperatives, and other national priorities. Failure to implement grants can negatively impact SETA’s performance. Active collaboration and support are therefore critical requirements for success. The Services SETA advertises discretionary grants on its website and in newspapers when necessary, to meet its targets.
Processing of Mandatory Grants
Employers who pay the Skills Development Levy can claim 20% of it from the SETA located within their area of economic activity by submitting a Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) for the next reporting period, along with an Annual Training Report (ATR) for the previous reporting period. Annually, the statutory deadline for submission is April 30th. Employers may apply for, and be granted a one-month extension subject to certain conditions. Claims are valid for a period of 5 years and can only be processed once all required documentation has been received and verified as compliant.
Accreditation of Assessment Centres
The Services SETA is a QCTO-appointed Assessment Quality Partner (AQP). In this role, the SETA is responsible for evaluating the suitability of the assessment centre of the qualification applied for, and making a recommendation to the QCTO. Here is the list of Services SETA Qualifications [Linkto: page]. Assessment centres are responsible for ensuring the integrity and quality of EISA and certification for occupational qualifications. Only accredited assessment centres may deliver assessments for QCTO certification. The Services SETA does not facilitate the accreditation of trade centres.
Non-SETA Funded Skills Development
Skills Development Levy revenue and funding are insufficient to meet labour market skills development demands. Employers are encouraged to invest in skills development through incentives.
Employers can benefit from tax deductions against income derived from funding learnerships and apprenticeships in terms of Section 12H of the Income Tax Act. The deductions consist of an annual allowance and a completion allowance. The allowance amount depends on the NQF level held by the learner before entering into the learning agreement and increases if the learner is a person with a disability.
Employers can also earn maximum B-BBEE (Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment) points for skills development if they dedicate 3% or 6% of their annual payroll to SETA-accredited learning programmes, based on the business category determined by annual turnover. SETA approval of the mandatory grant submission is required in this regard.
Non-SETA-funded applications are submitted through the Learner Management Information System (LMIS) of Services SETA. Entity and learner documents are required and verified similarly to SETA-funded learning programmes. Services SETA must receive the Workplace Based Learning Programme Agreement (WBLPA) within 30 working days after the learner signs it, and it must be registered within 30 working days thereafter. The majority of delays are caused by non-compliant documentation resulting in remediation.
To strengthen compliance with the Workplace Based Learning Programme Agreement Regulations, 2018, the practice of workplace approval was extended from Apprenticeships to Learnerships and Internships in 2021/22. The objective of Workplace Approval is to strengthen workplace-based learning outcomes by facilitating the readiness and suitability of workplaces. The suitability of a workplace should improve the experience of learners and the quality of work experience outcomes assessed as a core component of Occupational Qualifications. It will also facilitate the implementation of the third-party (learner, employer and provider) responsibilities embedded in the Workplace Based Learning Programme Agreement. Virtual site visits are conducted as much as possible, and the following four key criteria are evaluated:
- Workplace Resources,
- Mentorship capacity,
- Legal compliance and
- Workplace suitability.
External Moderation of Learner Achievements and Certification
An integral part of quality assurance is external moderation, a systematic process for validating learner achievements and verifying compliance with SAQA and QCTO certification criteria. Moderation ensures that multiple providers who deliver the same unit standards and/or qualifications are assessed consistently to the same standard, using valid instruments, and meeting the national standard registered on the NQF. An SDP can request external moderation from the Services SETA after they have assessed learners’ achievements and provided internal moderation. To ensure that learner assessments are fair, equitable, and consistent among learners, moderation is necessary.
A SETA is expected to upload learner achievements to SAQA’s National Learner Records Database (NLRD). Employers and employers use the NRLD to verify job seekers’ qualifications.
As part of Core Business’ approach to driving service excellence, three elements have been adopted:
- Outreach support: proactively offering technical assistance and visible-verbal communication with colleagues and stakeholders to strengthen relationships, understanding, and the achievement of organisational performance targets.
- Stakeholder value: transcending beyond processes to achieve the desired outputs and outcomes within reasonable turnaround times requires defining success through the eyes of our stakeholders.
- Continuous improvement: recognises the urgency to act whilst planning and implementing incremental improvements to business processes and services. It measures movement in the right direction, towards the desired goals.