by Menet Hamel
Welcome to the first skills mailer for 2017 and what a start we’ve had to this year already, with draft proposals to the NQF Act which will see private training providers having to register with the DHET, to the re-establishment of all SETAs as well as NSDS III until 31 March 2020. As well as the signing of the Higher Education Amendment Act by president Zuma.
As per the Skills Development Act, Act No. 97 of 1998 (“the SD Act”), there is no requirement for private education and training providers who offer full and/or part qualifications on the Occupational Qualifications Sub-Framework (OQSF) to be registered with the DHET, as the SD Act only requires private education and training providers to be accredited by the QCTO, or rather the SETA as the delegated body of the QCTO in terms of quality assurance. We must now, as accredited private education and training providers, register with the DHET should we offer full and part qualifications which falls in the OQSF. For more information on this click here for a copy of the Joint Communique.
On 10 November 2015 a draft proposal for a new National Skills Development landscape which would take effect on 1 March 2018 was released by the DHET. The document entitled “Proposal for the New National Skills Development Strategy (NSDS) and Sector Education & Training Authorities (SETAs) Landscape” created some uncertainty amongst stakeholders about the future of SETAs and the disbursement of the 1% Skills Development Levy. However, on the 15th of December 2016, the Minister re-established the existing 21 SETAs as well as NSDS III from 01 April 2018 until 31 March 2020. It is unlikely that the re-establishment of SETA’s until 2020 means the status quo will remain. Between now and 2020 the size and shape of SETA’s will change by means of directives from the DHET and the responsibilities that have, to date, fallen under the ambit of the SETA ETQA’s (quality assurance functions) will still transfer to the QCTO. SETA’s have until March 2018 to convert all existing qualifications into the new curriculum format, and once completed, all activities related to providers, learners and the curriculum will be managed by the QCTO and SETA ETQA’s will essentially dissolve. For more information on the transfer of quality assurance functions to the QCTO, be sure to participate in the scheduled information sessions with only Cape Town and Durban remaining, click here for more information.
In addition to all of the above taking place we are gearing towards the submission of our Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) and Annual Training Report (ATR) or otherwise known as our mandatory grant submission. The due date for all submissions to the various SETAs is the 30th of April 2017. I have seen stakeholder invitations from nearly every single SETA inviting SDF’s to participate in an information session on how to successfully submit a WSP/ATR online. Be sure to rsvp to these information sessions and be sure to ask your SETA for their policy and timelines for submitting discretionary grant applications.
For most SETAs the policy differs around when and how to apply for discretionary funding. However, one thing remains the same and that is the requirement to list the intent to apply for discretionary funding by listing details of such funding needed under the PIVOTAL section of the WSP. If you are needing assistance in the submission of your Mandatory Grant, GBS will be running SDF training workshops in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and East London in February and March 2017. In addition, I, as well as some of my colleagues, are qualified to offer you consultation services in this regard.
In closing, on the matter of litigation brought by BUSA to challenge the change in the mandatory grant payment from 50% to only 20% of employer’s 1% skills development levy, we now have a further update on the matter in that the appeal that the Minister launched and now seeks to continue with (against the Labour Court judgment in BUSA’s favour) has been set down for hearing on 4 May 2017. We will be sure to keep everyone informed as to the ruling.