Apprentice training, the employer and merSETA programs

The RMI often receives questions such as ‘Our business is looking to train apprentices, and we have no idea how it works and what programs the merSETA has’. Or ‘What role does the merSETA and other role players play and why?  What are the obligations of the employer and the apprentice in training?’

Below, employers can find important links of information.  The points below are in no particular order, and serve to assist specifically with apprentice training options in the scope of the merSETA. The below mentioned are links to information sources as currently listed, and can change without notice.  Please ensure that you engage with the relevant merSETA regional office at all times regarding this subject. 

What is the role of merSETA in my business?

  • read more about merSETA offices’ contact details in your region;
  • how do I reap rewards;
  • what is the merSETA;
  • what does merSETA do;
  • what is a levy number;
  • does merSETA cover the scope of my company;
  • what is a grant
  • what can merSETA do for me and my company – 

http://www.merseta.org.za/merSETA%20Media/Brochures/The%20Role%20of%20Merseta%20in%20my%20business.pdf

  • Regional merSETA Client Liaison Officers with whom employers can engage, are:

KZN  – Yogi Pillay (YPillay@merseta.org.za);

NC – Andre van Wyk (Avanwyk@merseta.org.za);

FS – Lornene Barnard (LBarnard@merseta.org.za);

EC – Zola Antonie – (ZAntonie@merseta.org.za);

EC – Mawethu Ngxe (MNgxe@merseta.org.za);

WC – Hassan Gazi (HGazi@merseta.org.za); 

WC – Daniel Maishoane  (DMaishoane@merseta.org.za);

GP North & North West – Malatjie Ledwaba (MLedwaba@merseta.org.za);

GP South – Thulani Tshabalala – TTshabalala@merseta.org.za;

GP South – Josua Joubert (JJoubert@merseta.org.za)

To better understand the relevant designated trades within merSETA, as well as the difference between the Time-based trades and Competency-Based Modular (CBMT) trades, click on the following link: http://merseta.org.za/sd/LearningProgrammes/Appenticeships/Pages/DesignatedTrades.aspx

From here you will be able to determine which trade(s) you wish to have apprentices to trained in.   

  • A merSETA CLO will advise you that the merSETA requires a workplace approval (can also be called workplace verification) for a business to train apprentices, where merSETA checks for among others tools, equipment, and qualified artisans in the specific trade, to act as mentors to the apprentices. 

  • Interested employers can request these checklists from the merSETA CLO which are required for the employer to be fully prepared for the physical work place approval or any other alternative arrangement that is made (for example, in compliance with COVID regulations and lockdown levels of South Africa).

  • In order for you to understand the requirements of enrolling an apprentice in a program, such as the Implementation Guideline for MOTOR Competency-Based Modular Training (CBMT), please access the following link –

http://merseta.org.za/sd/LearningProgrammes/Appenticeships/Motor%20CBMT/LPM-GL-003%20Implementation%20Guide%20for%20Motor%20Apprentices(CBMT).pdf

  • The client liaison officer assists with the learner agreement (incl. apprenticeships) that the employer and the apprentice will be required to enter in to.

  • For merSETA to monitor the progress of the apprentice’s training, the quality assurance and other items, the employer is required as a legal entity to register on the merSETA National Skills Development Management System (NSDMS)  – accessible with these links:

https://nsdms.merseta.org.za/ and  https://nsdms.merseta.org.za/login.jsf.

  • Note that in the Motor Industry Bargaining Council (MIBCO) wage agreement, the wage (minimum prescribed) for apprentices is included.  The Motor Industry Main Agreement as published can be viewed with this link –

https://rmi.org.za/RMI_WAGES/Main_Agreement_2021_v1-compressed.pdf.

For example, in a vehicle dealership, the current negotiated wages/salaries for clerical and workshop employees employed in a sector 6 establishment is under Division D, on page 168 to 169 of the Agreement (see link above).  Other sector examples are:   The current negotiated wages/salaries for workshop employees employed at a sector 4 or 7 establishments are under Division C, on pages 126 – 127.

  • RMI regional offices employ dedicated Industrial Relations Specialists who provide guidance with employment contracts for the duration of the apprenticeship. 
    • Note that the learnership agreement (incl. apprenticeships) is between the  employer and the apprentice for regulating the training obligations which sets out the roles and responsibilities. 
    • The employment contract sets out the obligations for the duration of the training period and regulates the workplace relations between the parties.  This will refer among others the company rules; disciplinary code, working hours, etc. 
    • RMI employers should make contact directly with the RMI IR specialist in their RMI region, alternatively contact can be made with the respective RMI regional managers  who will assist with the process – see link for contact details: https://rmi.org.za/contact/.

  • Training for the right reasons is encouraged.
  • For what reasons are you as the employer training apprentices.
    • It might be succession planning (for example, your current mechanics/technicians are nearing retirement age)
    • It might be for diversifying your business operation (for example new brand).   
  • Funding opportunities can be considered,
    • Which is at the discretion of the funding Sector Education Training Authority (SETA). 
    • Employers are encouraged to maintain an awareness of alternate funding opportunities (also called funding ‘windows’). 
    • Normally these opportunities are notices that are sent out to employers registered with the relevant SETA; for this reason contact details must be correctly maintained at all times. 
    • Employers are also urged to read the merSETA Grants policy for the relevant year – the example in this link is for the 2021/2022 year – http://www.merseta.org.za/GRANTS/Grants%20Policy%202021-22.pdf.  The below article demonstrates the inter-relatedness between  Skills Development; B-BBEE and Employment Equity (EE).

  • Employers often wish to better understand or have their managerial staff understand, the Return On Investment (ROI) of apprentice training.  The merSETA commissioned an online ROI apprentice calculator built for this reason.  Kindly view the link and add in your numbers (labour rate; hours worked etc.).Please note that the ROI excludes any grants, tax rebates, and incentives –  http://roi.merseta.org.za/