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Learnerships can Improve Your B-BBEE Rating and Ensure Tax Rebates

The latest amendments to the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Codes of Good Practice, which legislate tax rebates for businesses while ensuring that the economic sector Is transformed, have placed the focus on learnerships and given extra points for training non-staff and promoting black women.

Education, Training and Quality Assurance Specialist, Theophilus Teffu, recently attended various B-BBEE and learnership seminars to learn about the new legal developments and to report back about the tax benefits for businesses.

The South African government launched learnerships a year ago to help skill learners, and prepare them for the workplace.Young people, older than 16 and younger than 35,who have completed school, college or learning at other training institutions, qualify for learnerships. Participants are required to complete a theoretical course as well as practical training, done at a workplace, in order to graduate.

These work-based learning programmes are directly related to an occupation or field of work, managed by the Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) and lead to NQF-registered qualifications.

Funding from learnerships is generally funded from the relevant SETA, which then oversees learnerships and ensures that they offer qualifications related to a specific occupation or sector of the economy. The costs of learnerships vary depending on the SETAs and types/levels of qualifications.All 21 SETAs have developed NQF-aligned programmes,with recognised qualifications and on-the-job experience.

A mentor will give hands-on, practical learning to guide the learners as part of the workplace component of the qualification, and a designated education and training provider provides the theoretical component. Instead of the traditional classroom learning experience, learners receive an integrated and comprehensive learning programme.

In the past, it was recommended that firms train only their employees with learnerships, but now the scoring system has redefined the target market. Teffu explains, “Businesses are now encouraged to include non-employees,together with their employees,in their future learnership programmes. Simply put, if your firm trains staff and non-staff, you will score higher. There are extra points if companies hire the non-staff after the learnerships”.

Potgieter find the new changes very encouraging for the future of the South African economy. “This translates into a financial win for local businesses and will impact positively on a company’s B-BBEE scorecard and result in significant future tax rebates!”

Large and qualifying small enterprises are ranked according to the B-BBEE scorecard and this includes points given to score businesses for ownership, skills development and enterprise and supplier development. The B-BBEE scoring gives higher points to businesses for employing and promoting black employees.

The onus is on businesses to train the learners in their specific sector and thus help improve their target market. A printing company won’t get points for sending staff to a course on fishing – it must be in their field.Further changes to the scorecard include shifting the focus to black women and ensuring that they are hired for management positions, giving firms higher points.

Learnerships allow participants to work and get started on their careers while also studying for an educational qualification.Unemployed South Africans can only participate in a learnership, if there is an employer prepared to provide the required work experience. “Now businesses can enroll unemployed people for learnerships and this gives them extra B-BBEE points,” Teffu enthuses.