What is a Learnership?

What is a Learnership? – This question might have come up before. If you’re interested in knowing the answer, no need to look any further. Find what you need right here!

What is a Learnership? – You might have asked yourself this question before. The answer is quite simple. Find out more on what a learnership is and how you can benefit from it right here. It might be just what you need to kickstart your career! 

What is a Learnership?

A learnership can be described as a training programme that consists of both theory and practical elements. It offers a way for you to gain work experience, as well as an NQF registered qualification. This relates directly to an occupation or field of work, such as engineering or project management

All learnerships are managed by Sector Education Training Authorities (SETAs). They were introduced by the government to help prepare learners for the workplace. This is done by providing them with the necessary skills.

How Does it Work?

You need to complete a theoretical course, along with practical training, to graduate. The practical training is done at a workplace and involves hands-on, practical learning under the guidance of a mentor. The theory part is provided by a training provider. During the learnership, you will be formally assessed in the classroom and in the workplace. 

Who is Involved? 

There are three major players involved in a learnership. Learn who they are and what their roles are below.

  • The Learner – A learnership can’t start without a suitable candidate being selected. You need to meet the requirements first in order to be considered. This can include factors such as prior education or experience in the field.
  • The Employer – Someone needs to provide the work experience part of the learnership. That’s where the employer comes in. Learners will receive training, guidance and mentoring in order to learn how to carry out roles within the company.
  • The Training Provider – Training providers are there to teach the theory part. This is typically done first, as the knowledge gained will be applied during the practical work experience part. 

Who can Apply for a Learnership? 

Learnerships are available for those who have completed school or college. You have to be older than 16 and younger than 35 to qualify. If you are unemployed, you can only participate in a learnership if there is an employer prepared to provide the required work experience. You will also receive an allowance to cover certain expenses, such as travel and meal costs. 

Student giving a presentation on the topic: What is a Learnership?

What are the Benefits for Those Involved? 

The great thing about learnerships, is that everyone involved benefits in some way. So whether you are a learner, employer or training provider, there is something you can gain. Wondering what that is? Find some benefits for each listed below. 


Learners can enjoy the following benefits: 

  • The ability to apply learning to real work situations 
  • National recognition of your learning achievements
  • Access to further learning and work opportunities 


Employers can look forward to these benefits: 

  • Improved skills and work performance by employees 
  • Meeting employment equity objectives 
  • Increased return on investment in training 

Training Providers 

As a training provider, you can expect the following benefits: 

  • Industry needs are identified before the learnership design process 
  • The opportunity to develop skills programmes that can fill the market
  • Tax incentives can be claimed for each learnership candidate 

How can I Find a Learnership? 

The process of finding learnerships in South Africa is similar to what you would do when job hunting. Use the steps below as a guide to help you along your journey. 

  • Plan a career path
  • Identify the learnership that supports your chosen career path
  • Learn as much as you can about the learnership from educational institutions, online and newspaper adverts.
  • Identify what you need before entering the learnership.
  • Find an employer willing to provide practical work experience. 

Take Your Learning to the Next Level!

Looking to gain valuable workplace skills? Explore our distance learning courses and take advantage of our student support and benefits. To learn more, simply contact our course experts by: 

Last Updated: 2 December 2021