What is a learnership?

A learnership is a work-based learning programme that leads to a qualification that is registered in the National Qualifications Framework.  Learnerships are directly related to an occupation or field of work, for example, bookkeeping or office administration.  The aims of learnerships are to address the challenges of:

  • Decreasing employment;
  • Unequal access to education and training, and employment opportunities
  • The effects of race, gender and geographical location on educational advancement;
  • and over and above the skills shortages in South Africa.


Who qualifies for a learnership?

Learnerships are available for those who have completed school, college or learning at other training institutions, or for those who are studying part-time. Unemployed South Africans can participate in a learnership programme if there is an employer who is prepared to provide the required work experience.

What does a learner receive on completion? 

During the Learnership, learners will be required to complete assignments, tasks and practical tests and projects. They will be formally assessed in the classroom and workplace.
If all the assignments are completed successfully, they will be awarded an NQF-registered qualification, which is recognized nationally. They will receive a certificate stating the qualification and the area of skill development.

What is required to enter into a Learnership?

If a learner is accepted, he/she will need to sign two legal documents:

  • Learnership Agreement: this is an agreement signed by the learner, the organisation employing the learner, and the education provider offering the theoretical training component of the Learnership. This agreement clearly outlines the rights and responsibilities of all three parties.
  • Employment contract: this is a contract they will sign with the employer, which is only valid for the time period of the Learnership.

Can a Learnership be terminated?

An employer can terminate the contract of a Learnership if:

  • The duration specified in the Learnership agreement has expired;
  • The employer and learner have agreed in writing to terminate the Learnership agreement, or if there is no such agreement, the SETA that registered the agreement approves the termination; or
  • The learner is fairly dismissed for a reason related to the learner`s conduct or capacity as an employee.


What learnerships are offered through the ICB?

The ICB administers the following learnerships on behalf of Fasset:

  • Junior Bookkeeper Learnership
    1. National Certificate Bookkeeping – NQF 3
    2. Duration – 1 year
    3. Entry requirement – 16-years of age or NQF 2 qualification
  • Senior Bookkeeper Learnership
    1. Further Education and Training Certificate: Bookkeeping – NQF 4
    2. Duration – 1 year
    3. Entry requirement – simultaneous completion of Junior Bookkeeper learnership
  • Technical Financial Accountant Learnership
    1. National Diploma Technical Financial Accounting – NQF 5
    2. Duration – 2 years
    3. Entry requirements – simultaneous completion of the Junior and Senior Bookkeeper learnerships
  • Small Business Financial Management Learnership
    1. National Certificate Small Business Financial Management – NQF 4
    2. Duration – 1 year
    3. Entry requirements – NQF 3 qualification
  • Office Administration Learnership
    1. Certificate Office Administration – NQF 5
    2. Duration – 1 year
    3. Entry requirement – NQF 4 qualification
  • Senior Office Administration Learnership
    1. Higher Certificate Office Administration – NQF 5
    2. Duration – 2 years
    3. Entry requirement – simultaneous completion of Office Administration learnership


Roles and responsibilities

The following are the roles and responsibilities of each party.

  • ICB
    1. Marketing of learnerships which are under the auspices of the ICB
    2. Provide guidance and support to employers implementing ICB learnerships
    3. Apply or give advice on recognition of prior learning
    4. Register learners for theory and practical assessments
    5. Accredit theory skills development providers to offer the theory tuition towards the underpinning learnership qualifications
    6. Accredit workplace providers to offer the structured practical component of the learnership
    7. Conduct national theory assessments of the qualifications
    8. Conduct workplace assessment via the means of a detailed portfolio of evidence
    9. Register learners on the National Learner Records Database via Fasset
    10. Administer the award of the registered qualification 


  • SETAs
    1. To register learnership agreements
    2. Promote learnerships across all levels and sectors


  • Learners
    1. Enter learnership agreement between the employer and skills development provider
    2. Actively participate in induction programmes
    3. Work for the employer for the duration of the learnership agreement
    4. Register with a skills development provider for the theory component of the learnership qualification
    5. Register with the ICB for the theory and practical assessments associated with the relevant qualification and learnership
    6. To be available for and participate in all theory instruction and structured work experience required for the completion of the learnership
    7. Adhere to all workplace policies and procedures
    8. Complete all documentation associated with the learnership and complete and submit a workplace portfolio of evidence for assessment


  • Skills Development Provider
    1. Ensure that they are accredited by the ICB to offer tuition towards the relevant qualification that underpins the learnership
    2. Ensure that they meet the quality assurance criteria set by the ICB
    3. Provide tuition in line with the outcomes of the modules of the relevant qualifications
    4. Enquire that learners are registered with the ICB for the national assessments
    5. Ensure that they are registered with the Department of Higher Education, Science and Technology


  • Employer as a workplace provider
    1. Attain accreditation with the ICB to offer the practical component of the learnership
    2. Appoint a mentor to the learner for the duration of the structured workplace component
    3. Implement a quality management system to manage
      • Learner induction
      • Learner support
      • Mentoring
      • Performance management
    4. Enter learnership agreement with the learner and accredited skills development provider
    5. Enter employment contract with the learner
    6. Comply with all applicable labour legislation
    7. Schedule and provider learner with appropriate training and exposure to the practical outcomes of the learnership as stipulated in the workplace portfolio of evidence available from the ICB
    8. Supervise the learner for the duration of the learnership agreement
    9. Release the learner for training and assessments applicable to the learnership


Learnerships are positive programmes that enhance the education and potential of those entering the workforce.

NB: The ICB does not offer learnerships directly to learners. Employers initiate and fund learnerships and then recruit their own candidates.