The date for migrating training programmes from Sector and Training Authorities (SETAs) to the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) has been postponed several times, but it will not be delayed again.

By Martin Pienaar, chief operating officer at Mindworx Academy

The migration will finally occur in June 2024, just three months away. If you’ve been putting off making the changes you need to be compliant, now is really the time to get on with it.

To recap, QCTO is replacing SETA as the primary body responsible for the accreditation, implementation, assessment and certification of occupational qualifications and skills programmes. All SETAs will report to QCTO.

Organisations that offer training courses are now required to register with QCTO to receive funding from SARS via the Section 12H learnership allowance, and also to get BEE points for the learning pillar – there are no changes to B-BBEE status. Organisations that depend on these sources of funding need to act quickly so that they don’t lose their benefits.

Inevitably there will be some hiccups and some organisations may experience difficulty getting new programmes off the ground during the early stage of migration, but these are minor considerations in the context of the end result.

One such hiccup is that there is currently no QCTO learnership for Business Analysis qualifications, once the current SETA learnerships expire. We are working closely with MICT SETA to expedite this, but encourage organisations that depend on this qualification to enrol as many learners as possible before June, after which time there is sure to be a gap of at least six months before further Business Analysis enrollments will take place.

We see mostly positives in the migration to QCTO.

First, both the quality and relevance of qualifications will improve because learnerships and skills programmes are being updated, with industry consultation, as part of migrating from SETA to QCTO.

Second, learners will be required to write exit exams, resulting in better levels of consistency across service providers and all geographies. We have yet to see how the QCTO will cope with the volume of learners in existing programmes, and how long results will take to finalise.

Third, training will be more closely aligned to specific skills targeted to occupations. Fourth, we expect that QCTO, which has existed for a decade and has been building capacity for some time, will be more flexible about training as it works with organisations to improve outcomes.

Ultimately, all of this will result in more credible qualifications, which can only be good for the growth and development of the South African economy. We expect it to give rise to more and better life-long learning, which is increasingly essential in a world of constantly changing technology.

Some fast facts include:

* All existing SETA accreditations will be valid in perpetuity.

* Qualifications will migrate to QCTO.

* SETAs will continue to exist after June 2024 as they are licensed until 2030. They continue with their existing responsibilities, and also additional responsibilities as Development Quality Partners (DQP) and Assessment Quality Partners (AQP) for occupational qualifications.

* A teach-out period for those enrolled in historical qualifications will last until 30 June 2027, provided learners are enrolled by June 2024.

* Previous qualifications were based on unit standards whereas new qualifications are based on full standards (one year or more) of 120 credits or more (occupational certificates).

* Part qualifications or skills programmes are also available.