“SETA” stands for Sector Education and Training Authority.

There are millions of people throughout South Africa who want and need to learn new skills. Some are learners who are still at school or in college. Others are already employed but need to improve the skills that they have and also learn new ones.

There are an estimated 4.3-million people who are unemployed, most of whom have little training and few skills. More than half of the Grade 12 learners who leave school every year don’t have sufficient basic skills to get work in any sector of the economy. At any one time there are as many as 7 000 graduates who have university degrees who are also unemployed.

In March 2000, the then Minister of Labour, Membathisi Mdladlana formerly established 23 SETAs, each with its own clearly defined sector and sub-sectors. Each of the sectors was made up of a variety of economic activities that were related and closely linked. So, one SETA would deal, for example, with banking, while another would deal with health and welfare. All the SETAs were to be responsible for both the private and public sectors within their own sector as a whole.

Unlike the old training boards, the SETAs were to be concerned with learnerships, internships, unit based skills programmes, and apprenticeships. The SETAs were also given much greater powers than the training boards had had, and far reaching responsibilities. Furthermore, they were established to ensure that every industry and occupation in South Africa was covered.

One of the primary objectives of the SETAs was to collect skills levies from employers within each sector, in terms of the Skills Development Levies Act and make the money available within the sector for education and training. This was to go to employers and training bodies, and to learners in the form of discretionary grants and bursaries.

The bodies are meant to reverse the country’s skills crisis and thereby address the plight of the 3.4-million 18- to 24-year-olds who are not in employment, education or training. Tailored to facilitate training for industry needs, they are meant to enable youth participation in learnerships and apprenticeships, provide bursaries for scarce skills university and college studies, and offer organised career guidance.

AND THE GOOD NEWS IS, TRAINING IS SPONSORED BY THE SETAs, so it will cost you nothing to have your staff trained. Don’t miss the opportunity.