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What is a Skills Development Facilitator (SDF)?

A Skills Development Facilitator (SDF) is crucial for businesses in South Africa to comply with the Skills Development Act, the Skills Development Levies Act, and the BEE (Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment) scorecard requirements. These laws provide a framework for businesses to enhance the skills of their workforce, which is essential for business growth and compliance.

What Does a Skills Development Facilitator Do?

An SDF is responsible for managing all training activities in a company. This includes:

  • Registering the business with the relevant SETA (Sector Education and Training Authority).

  • Submitting an annual Workplace Skills Plan (WSP), Pivotal Plan, and Annual Training Report to qualify for SETA grants.

  • Claiming annually from your industry-specific SETA.

  • Introducing accredited training from certified providers.

  • Implementing skills development programmes such as learnerships, bursaries, and youth subsidies.

  • Creating and submitting an Employment Equity Plan and Reports.

  • Setting up Training and/or Employment Equity Committees.

Key Roles of an SDF

  • Developing and submitting a Workplace Skills Plan to the SETA.

  • Advising the employer on implementing the Workplace Skills Plan.

  • Helping draft an Annual Training Report.

  • Ensuring the employer meets SETA’s quality assurance requirements.

  • Acting as a liaison between the employer and SETA.

  • Keeping the employer informed about SETA initiatives, grants, and benefits.

  • Communicating SETA events and grants to branch offices and employees.

Skills Development Facilitator Training

Becoming a certified Skills Development Facilitator (SDF) in South Africa involves specific steps and training.

1.     Skills Development Facilitator Training:

Consider enrolling in an accredited Skills Development Facilitator Training Course. These courses are recognized by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) and the Education, Training, and Development Practices Sector Education and Training Authority (ETDP SETA).

The training covers various aspects related to skills development, including Workplace Skills Plans (WSPs), Annual Training Reports (ATRs), skills audits, and Quality Management systems.

Attendees typically include lecturers, teachers, facilitators, education practitioners, HR professionals, line managers, and subject matter experts.

Minimum entry requirements usually include numeracy and literacy skills at NQF Level 4 and basic English communication skills.

Training options include:

  • workshops (3 to 5 days);

  • online webinars; and

  • blended e-learning.

The duration varies based on the chosen format, but it typically takes around 8 weeks to complete the training and submit the required Portfolio of Evidence.

2.     Course Content:

The training covers several key areas:

SDF Information: Understanding legislation related to skills development, providing advice on learning and assessment, and promoting skills development within organisations.

SDF Analysis: Planning and conducting skills analysis, developing outcome matrices, and identifying skills requirements.

Training & Development Plan: Creating organisational training plans and advising on implementation.

3.     Accreditation and Certification:

  • Ensure that the training provider is accredited with ETDP SETA.

  • Successful completion of the training allows you to register as an accredited SDF.

  • SAQA regulations may require additional certification, such as the unit standard for conducting outcomes-based assessments.

4.     Additional Considerations:

  • Stay informed about changes in legislation and best practices related to skills development.

  • Network with other professionals in the field to exchange knowledge and insights.

The Skills Development Facilitator training process involves both theoretical learning and practical application.

SDF and the BEE Scorecard

Skills development is a strategic priority for businesses to achieve or maintain a good BEE level. To earn points on the BEE scorecard, businesses must submit:

  • Workplace Skills Plan (WSP)

  • Pivotal Plan

  • Annual Training Report (ATR) by the April deadline

The WSP and Pivotal Plan must be approved by the SETA to earn any BEE scorecard points.

Who Must Pay Skills Development Levies?

Businesses with an annual payroll over R500,000 (including director fees) must pay 1% of their payroll to SARS, which then distributes the funds to the appropriate SETA. These levies fund skills development programmes for marginalized groups in South Africa, benefiting businesses by creating a more skilled and productive workforce.

Benefits of Paying Skills Development Levies

By paying Skills Development Levies (SDLs) monthly, businesses qualify for:

  • Skills development grants (mandatory and discretionary)

  • Tax allowances for implementing learnerships

  • Up to 50% tax rebate for employing youth (under 29 years)

  • An additional R80,000 tax expense for registered learnership programmes

  • Improved B-BBEE compliance level


How to Claim Back Portions of Levies Paid to SARS

Businesses can reclaim between 20% and 69.5% of levies paid to SARS annually by:

  • Registering a Skills Development Facilitator

  • Submitting a Workplace Skills Plan for the next reporting period

  • Submitting a Pivotal Plan detailing training provided

  • Offering SETA-accredited training such as Mandatory training and Learnerships

Purpose of the Skills Development Act

The Skills Development Act aims to enhance the knowledge and skills of the workforce, improving productivity, employment opportunities, and the quality of life for workers.


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