Here’s the thing: learnerships have been one of the most effective tools implemented in South Africa to uplift and economically empower unemployed youth. So we’ve agreed it’s only appropriate that you get informed about this lethal combination of qualification and experience and how to get involved.
Maybe you’re looking to expand your horizons and you’ve been hearing the term “learnership” in your circle (good job on your circle if this is the case). Let’s get everybody on the same page about what a learnership is, why they were designed and how they can be seriously beneficial to young South Africans.
Learnships were designed to level the playing field in South Africa. By giving learners between the ages of 16 and 35 the opportunity to be integrated into a working environment whilst studying towards a National Qualifications Framework registered qualification. Essentially, theory and practical skills are streamlined to exist alongside one another giving students the opportunity to hone their knowledge within their specific industry whilst developing important real-life dexterity. Contrary to popular belief, learnerships are applicable across all trades, sectors and industries and give students the cutting edge of being able to study whilst keeping up to date and on-trend.
Why are learnerships important?
Uyabona, if education (and more people having access to education) excites you then learnerships should be right up your ally. Learnerships have four key pillars in mind that they aim to rectify:
- Unequal access to education and training, and employment opportunities
- Increasing unemployment
- The way that race, gender and geographical location affect education and employment opportunities
- The decreasing skills in South Africa
How do learnerships work?
It takes three players to make a learnership program work: a learner looking to enter the workforce but can’t afford to study fulltime, an employer with a long-term mindset* who believes in grass-roots growth and an accredited skills development training provider. Together, a contract will be drawn up to make sure that all parties are benefitted and protected in the short and long term.
The youth of Mzansi don’t always have time on their side – studying before starting to earn an income is not an option. No sir. Undertaking a full-time qualification is a huge financial responsibility and learners find themselves leaving their studies with no experience in the workforce and a whole lot of debt to keep an eye on. (*speaking of employers with long-term mindsets, here’s an intriguing read for you about a man building his entire team with interns, only)
Creating a long-term career, or working your way to leading positions takes time. A learnership isn’t a way to fast track your career but it does get the ball rolling faster. You’ve had time to get used to a workplace environment and you’ve made connections, friends and maybe even learned who not to do business with – an expensive mistake to make when you’re out in the big working world for the first time with no experience. Having a qualification, experience, a (hopefully) solid recommendation puts your career in a steady trajectory.
Should I be looking at a Learnership?
We don’t see why not, and we see a lot of reasons why yes. The first step is to sketch out a career path – what industry can you see yourself growing in and what gets your blood pumping and fingers tinging or at the very least raises your eyebrows? Choosing to go into an environment that supports the goals you have for yourself is obviously the first choice. You need to take matters into your own hands by finding a company and a reputable Skills Development Facilitator to make the magic happen.
A good place to start would be with us, the people talking to you through the screen right now. The Knowledge Trust has accessible education on the brain 24/7 and we have linked up with industry-respected employers and educators across the country. Our learnerships have shaped the lives of individuals across South Africa from all walks of life – you can hear from some of them here. We’d very much enjoy bringing the same value into your life. Get in touch and we can get to know more about you (and vice versa).