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South Africa's learnership programs are built on a unique dual contract system outlined in Sectoral Determination 5. This approach involves two distinct agreements – the Learnership Agreement focused on structured training, and the Employment Contract covering general employment terms. Through this comprehensive framework, the dual contract system ensures a well-defined and protected learning journey for learners, balancing skill development with fair employment practices.

Sectoral Determination 5: Learnerships in South Africa - Dual Contracts Explained

Purposeful Structure:

Two distinct contracts provide a comprehensive framework for learnerships. The Learnership Agreement details the learning program, while the Employment Contract outlines broader employment conditions.

Key Elements of Each Contract:

Learnership Agreement:

Focuses on structured training for skill acquisition and qualification attainment, specifying responsibilities and the role of the training provider.

Employment Contract:

Encompasses general employment terms, job duties beyond training, benefits, and termination guidelines.

Responsibilities Outlined:


Committed to training, adhering to workplace rules, and aiming for qualification success.


Provides training, integrates learners into the workplace, ensures fair treatment, and maintains accurate records.

Sectoral Determination 5 Overview

Formal Agreements:

Establishes a clear relationship between learner, employer, and training provider through dual contracts.

Guidelines and Regulations:

Sets minimum wages/allowances, and working conditions, and mandates practical work experience aligned with theoretical training.

Understanding Dual Contracts for Learners - Reason for Two Contracts

Legal Framework:

Governed by the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA), ensuring standardised employment relationships.


Specialised work-based learning programs designed to lead to National Qualifications Framework (NQF)-registered qualifications.

Dual Contracts:

  • Learnership Agreement: Specifies the terms of the learnership, including the training details, duration, and responsibilities of both parties.

  • Employment Contract: Establishes the overall employment relationship, outlining general employment conditions and benefits.

Purpose of Each Contract:

Learnership Agreement:

  • Training Focus: Ensures structured learning and skill development.

  • Qualification: Guides learners towards achieving a specific qualification.

  • Rights and Obligations: Clearly define the roles and responsibilities of the learner and the employer throughout the learnership.

  • Training Provider: Details the role and responsibilities of the training provider.

Employment Contract:

  • General Employment: Outlines the broader terms of employment.

  • Work Duties: Describes the learner's job responsibilities beyond the scope of the learnership training.

  • Benefits: Includes information on remuneration, leave, and other employment-related benefits.

  • Termination: Details the procedures for contract termination.


Learner Responsibilities:

  • Training Commitment: Engage actively in training, assessments, and workplace learning.

  • Adherence to Rules: Comply with workplace rules, safety guidelines, and company policies.

  • Performance: Strive to achieve the qualification and meet performance expectations.

Employer Responsibilities:

  • Training Provision: Provide necessary training, mentorship, and resources.

  • Workplace Integration: Integrate learners into the work environment.

  • Fair Treatment: Ensure compliance with BCEA provisions, including fair remuneration and benefits.

  • Record Keeping: Maintain accurate records related to the learnership.

The dual contract system under Sectoral Determination 5 ensures a well-defined and protected learning journey for South African learners. The Learnership Agreement focuses on structured learning and skill development, while the Employment Contract covers general employment terms. This separation helps to delineate the scope of the learnership and the employment relationship, ensuring fair treatment and compensation for learners as they acquire critical skills.


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