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A learnership agreement is a contract for a specific time period entered into between:  

  • A learner;  

  • An employer; and  

  • A training provider (Skills Development Provider).  

Such a Learnership Agreement must be registered (section 17 of the Skills Development Act) with the relevant Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA). In the instance of Hairdressing as an example, such an agreement will be registered with the Services SETA whose primary function is to facilitate skills development through learning programmes like learnerships, skills programmes, internships, and other learning programmes.  

The parties to a learnership agreement have legislative and contractual specified duties –  

Learners Duties:  

The learnership agreement must require the learner to –  

  • Work for the employer; and  

  • Attend classes at an accredited Skills Development Provider.  


Employer’s Duties:  

The learnership agreement must require the employer to give the learner –  

  • A job for a specific time period;  

  • Practical work experience; and 

  • Time off to attend classes at an accredited Skills Development Provider.  

Training Provider’s Duties: 

The learnership agreement must require the training provider to provide –  

  • Education and training; and  

  • Support to the learner.  

Learnership agreements are regarded as “fixed term” agreements. This means that the agreement has a predetermined date of commencement and termination.  Learnership agreements may not be terminated before their end date unless –  


  • Complete all the work before the time;  

  • Are dismissed because of misconduct and or incapacity; or 

  • The SETA that the learnership is registered with approves it.  

Learnership Agreements legislatively comprise of provisions and prescriptions contained in the Skills Development Act, Basic Conditions of Employment Act, and the Unemployment Insurance Fund. In addition to these, the Main Collective Agreement of the National Bargaining Council for Hairdressing, Cosmetology, Beauty, and Skincare Industry also applies.  

A learner must –  

  • Carry out all related work experience activities specified in the workplace-based learning programme;  

  • Comply with the employer’s workplace policies and procedures;  

  • Be available for, and participate in, all knowledge, practical skills, and work experience activities required by the workplace-based learning programme;  

  • Complete timesheets and projects, and participate in all internal assessment activities that are required for the final external integrate summative assessment at the end of the workplace-based learning programme;  

  • Be available for the final external integrated summative assessment of occupational competence on the date and place scheduled.  


Final External Integrated Summative Assessment (EISA) – is a single national assessment leading to the awarding of an Occupational Certificate by the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO).  

EISA ensures that the assessment of occupational qualifications, part qualifications, and trades is standardised, consistent, and credible. EISA is conducted by applying nationally standardised assessment instruments which are developed and administered by the QCTO-approved Assessment Quality Partner (AQP). For the Hairdressing Occupational Qualification, Services SETA is the AQP. EISA for a trade is what is commonly known as a Trade Test.  

For learners to qualify for entry to EISA, they must provide proof of completion of all required knowledge, practical, and work experience modules as stipulated in the qualification. The statement of results obtained from the Skills Development Provider serves as proof that the candidate has satisfied all the requirements to be admitted sitting for EISA.  



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