“The Tourist's Guide to the 'city' of SETA”
The newcomer's tour of the SAQA / NQF / SETA Accreditation System
by Ken Annandale
Ken is the author of “The One Minute SAFETY Manager”, “Movers & Shakers, Moaners & Groaners” and Co-Founder and CEO of INTRA. Our AFFILIATE Licensees operate as independent business owners using our services in the area of
★ Training Material ★ Training of Trainers ★ SETA Accreditation ★ Business Support
Welcome to the adventure!
I remember the first time I left South Africa on a trip to Europe and the United Kingdom.
A friend invited me to visit his family home in France, and then take a short hop across the channel to England.
I figured, “Why not?”, and embarked on the journey with a little fear and a lot of fascination.
Applying for my passport and Schengen Visa took more time than expected, however when safely in my pocket, I was elated.
They appeared to be my “Golden Ticket” to world travel.
I did a little research, exchanged some money, packed my bags, navigated airport security and customs and was on my way.
Arriving in France, I was gobsmacked by the size of their airports. There seemed to be hundreds of aircraft landing and leaving at the same time. The facility was about 10 times the size of OR Tambo airport.
Meeting him at arrivals, he guided me out of the terminal, where I encountered a radically different environment to that which I left back home.
There were confusing signs, peculiar languages, strange brands and behaviour that was a far cry from what I was used to.
I followed my trolley to the car park, where I was amused to find myself standing on the left of the car, trying to open the driver’s door.
Elsewhere in the world passengers embark on the right-hand side, simply because countless countries drive in the right lane with left-hand drive cars. This was a habit I had to break, as I was soon to drive on European roads.
That was a terrifying experience!
En route to his home, my well-travelled mate suggested that when entering any city in the world, the first touristy thing to do, is jump on the topless bus and travel around the city 2 or 3 times. “You will get to know the layout by following the route on the free bus map”, he said.
Great advice. I have a general understanding of the layout of every city I have since visited, spotting the delightful attractions and devious tourist traps. In doing so, I met interesting sightseers and locals.
The famous “Red Bus” as you know, allows you to hop on and hop off at designated stops and introduces newcomers to the splendour and beauty on offer.
If interested or confused, you stay on the bus, do the full circuit a few times and jump on and off as often as you want.
So, join me on my hop on, hop off “accreditation” bus tour of the city of SETA [Sector Education & Training Authority] and QCTO [Quality Council For Trades and Occupations], “approval” from DoL [Department of Labour], recently renamed DEL [Department of Employment and Labour], “Registration” with DHET [Department of Higher Education and Training] and NQF [National Qualifications Framework], Unit Standard Alignment, “certification”, “endorsement”, “compliance” and so forth.
In so doing I hope to introduce you to SAQAish, the befuddling jargon and foreign language spoken in the city of SETA.
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Welcome to the mysterious city of SETA.
A glorious discovery on the Red Bus was that they had a multilingual channel you could listen to. It could communicate in one of 12 languages, and all you had to do was plug in your free headphones, choose the language, sit back and enjoy the tour.
Thankfully, ethical specialists and tutors have emerged providing a service to those who don't have the time, capacity or inclination to master the SETA accreditation process or language.
Some travellers navigate their way through the realm of SETA more easily than others.
Fortunately, your driver and tour guide speaks a little SAQAish, understands your dreams and desires and has experienced some of your frustrations.
As they say, “They earned the T-shirt”.
Understanding SAQAish will help you gather your thoughts, plot your route and hopefully arrive at this rather peculiar destination in one piece.
Only a tiny component of the population I discovered, speak SAQAish.
As a result, it gives them a tone of secrecy and superiority, requiring a paid tour guide, like my excellent Assessor and SAQAish instructor, Glenda.
The city of SETA was established in the late 1990s in order to provide structure for the educational sector.
© Picture: Image by jeremiahpietersen from Pixabay
At the time, universities, colleges, and Training Providers who offered medium to long term courses were invited to become SETA accredited. In an ideal world, the system prevents charlatans from ripping the public off, and provides recognised qualifications and skills.
On your journey, keep a lookout for 6 important signs; Accreditation, Approval, Registration, Alignment, Compliance and Certification.
Each of these highlighted tour destinations is a subject for consideration and comprehension.
Google, read, research and review your digital training “Trip Advisor” to become familiar with the jargon.
One wonders whether much consideration was given to the impact on the myriad of one day to one-week legal compliance, statutory, mandatory, health and safety Training Providers, and millions of employees who require “information, instructions and training” in a spectrum of some 170 related health and safety danger, hazard and risk-based topics.
The Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulations requires legislated training in some form or fashion for over 16,000,000 employees.
Provision was made by SAQA for non-credit bearing, unaccredited short courses in order to upskill the multitudes of workers and supervisors, but the bland “information, instructions and training” as required by the Act, often do not form part of the trendy “Accreditation” genre.
The SETA / QCTO system is not geared to handle the training tsunami, regrettably meaning some don't even board the bus, for a lack of entrance qualification or opportunity.
A befuddling question which arises is:
“Why do employers send their employees on generic one-size-fits-all, Unit Standard Aligned SETA accredited training that is NOT danger, hazard and risk aligned?
What they are required to do is to provide “Risk-Specific” legal-compliance training as demanded by the law.
The answer probably lies in the fact that employers are distracted by the allure of claiming some of their bus fare back, as a portion of the rebatable Skills Levy paid annually to SARS.
The Levy is a compulsory tax of 1% of their > R500,000.00 annual salary bill.
The storm cloud is that even when their SDF [Skills Development Facilitator] and administrator submits their training plan and claim, they realise that they can only recover 20% of their 1%.
Many have discovered it is not financially viable to submit their claims, due to the convoluted processes and proof required, but still expect “accredited” training to be the anti-nausea pill or panacea and guarantee to legal compliance.
A fun fact is that many employers also missed the announcement that they can still claim a portion of their Skills Levy, even if the training their employees attended, was not NQF credit-bearing or accredited.
A further fascinating myth is that many believe that legal compliance / mandatory training qualifies for points on their B-BBEE scorecard.
No provision is made for accumulation of B-BBEE points for mandatory training. None. Nada. Niks!
Here is another interesting, but utterly ignored fact. The training of Health and Safety Representatives, in terms of the Act, requires that the training must be “agreed upon” before embarking on the required tuition.
One would imagine this prior agreement would apply to course content, Training Providers, outcomes, and the fact that the course is Risk-Specific. It appears to be a matter of the employer, committee and Representatives being required to inspect the bus before boarding.
But, who does that?
For the past 25 years, non-compliant, unagreed, generic and non-risk-specified Health and Safety Rep training has been the order of the day.
To me, that's like the bus operator selecting which laws they want to comply with, breaking those that don't suit them.
Another frequently ignored, but specified legal requirement, is that of a compulsory, substantive and comprehensive HIRA [Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment], prior to developing, arranging and presenting Health and Safety training.
The findings, the Act expects, must be embedded in all course curriculum, policies, procedures and practices. This statutory requirement should ensure the course content is relevant and addresses both the employer and the employee’s unique Risk-Profile.
Regrettably, non-compliant, one-size-fits-all health and safety Training Providers generically ignore this requirement. Additionally, this statutory requirement also appears to be totally overlooked in many NQF Unit Standards.
Who's driving the bus?
Then there is the issue of selecting the driver [or trainer or facilitator or instructor]. This falls into the arena of caveat emptor, “Let the buyer beware”.
Confusingly, there is little or no clarity on what training Is required to drive the SETA training bus or present the course.
Assessors, who are neither trainers, nor subject matter specialists, pose as “qualified expert” facilitators and the law often fails to guide the employer regarding who they should choose to propel the vehicle and passengers to the destination safely and efficiently.
Just as there are various driving license codes, facilitators should ideally be registered as both a Facilitator as well as an Assessor with a SAQA professional body, on the NQF NLRD and with SAQA against the Unit Standard they will be presenting.
As their primary focus, they should be highly proficient at information and skills transfer, learning techniques and learner evaluation and assessment.
But, for some peculiar reason, this is not a requirement for SETA / QCTO accreditation.
Driving by the Book
Manuals are compiled for technicians and mechanics who maintain vehicles and buses. The core information is detailed by the manufacturer to ensure quality workmanship and the correct use of spare parts, hydraulic liquids and consumables.
It is universally accepted that one authoritative manual will suffice for each vehicle.
In the SETA / QCTO scenario, it is possible to have multiple NQF Unit Standards [or driver guides] designed by novices, which may be applied to the specialist subject matter.
When developing our Hazardous Chemical Substance Trainer’s Kit, we discovered over two dozen Unit Standards covering this critical topic.
The chaos is, which one is the employer to select and how is the Training Provider to source a suitably registered team, consisting of a NLRD registered constituent Facilitator, Assessor and Moderator, in order to ensure their learners are suitably trained and comply with the legal and NQF and SETA accreditation requirements?
As a rookie explorer, I discovered this shadowy world with its unique neologism [making up words], its own terminology, its own idiosyncrasies, and its own secrets.
The citizens of this realm speak a different language and pepper their speech and writings with countless indecipherable acronyms.
They speak in numbers and rattle them off as if they are speaking an alien language. A language designed to protect their profession, possibly confuse their clients and impress their peers.
We often hear courseware developers and Training Providers proudly proclaiming, “Our company provides Unit Standard Aligned training material for “119567, 229998, 244287, 259602, 259610, 259622, 259639”, as if the world knows what they're talking about.
What they should be doing is describing the available training in layman's terms such as:
- Conduct a baseline risk assessment and take appropriate action.
- Demonstrate basic understanding of procedure for submission of compensation claims.
- Demonstrate knowledge pertaining to basic health & safety principles at work.
- Describe sources of and control measures for noise in a workplace.
- Describe the functions of the workplace health and safety representative.
- Explain & perform fall arrest techniques when Working at Heights or perform basic life support and First Aid procedures.
By the way, these are some of the customizable courses that INTRA have developed, support and supply to health and safety trainers.
In addition the list of SETAs reads like a foreign dialect and includes the following:
- FASSET SETA.
- SERVICES SETA.
The SETA accreditation vehicle most people grumble about by those in the health and safety world, is the HWSETA.
This has proved to be one of the most arduous SETAs to deal with due to their extraordinary standards.
First time pioneers encounter a number of incongruities, including that this SETA was formed to serve the Health and Welfare, and not the process orientated production and engineering sector.
It’s not an ideal fit...
It's like loading passengers on an open-bed truck, rather than a luxury bus. The HWSETA target group are psychologists, psychiatrists, pastors, priests, physicians, paramedics, social workers, etc.
How this SETA monitors and evaluates training in the prevention, protection and preparation for managing dangers, hazards and risks emanating from the mechanical, electrical, chemical, physical, nuclear, construction and safety arena is rather mind boggling.
It is important to know that those embarking on the SETA accreditation journey need to be aware that HWSETA recognises the 120 credits of a priest or pastor, who intends offering a statutory 2-day, Department of Employment and Labour, General Safety Regulation 3, NQF Level 1, single Unit Standard 119567 First Aid training course, but rejects the credentials of a trained and experienced paramedic, who cannot produce the accumulated credits.
It’s akin to a travel agent being allowed to drive the bus, while the driver has to walk alongside.
We are also discovering that the short-course training sector is being swamped by non-legislated expectations.
Employer’s speculative trends have become the norm, fed by well-meaning, but ill-informed human resource and financial administrators.
Now, I enjoy a challenge.
I enjoy languages.
I am learning to speak SAQAish
I'm currently also learning to speak French, speak a smattering of isiXhosa and isiZulu, have mastered Afrikaans and of course speak my mother tongue, English.
I firmly believe that the command of language breaks barriers and builds bridges.
SETA, I discovered was a mysterious place, akin to a secret society. A society that invented, adapted and discarded its’ own lexicon. A culture comprising of committed followers and devotees who ostracise outsiders and treat them like sycophants. It promised to be an interesting excursion.
I was ready!
Welcome to SAQAish!
Feeling like a newcomer, I embarked on the quest to learn the language of the state of SETA.
Here are a few acronyms you can master in order to converse with other SAQAites:
Congratulations, you're on your way!
If somebody asks whether “a course is SETA / QCTO accredited?”, you can confidently reply that “course material, courses and people cannot be accredited” but that “the course is single NQF Unit Standard Aligned” and that “the constituent Facilitator, Assessor and Moderator are all registered against specific Unit Standards on the NLRD”. Assertively, you can allude to the fact that only training organisations can be accredited.
You can add that the course is neither “a part or full qualification”. Sounding ever so erudite, you will be able to self-assuredly state that the learner will be declared “not yet competent” or “competent”.
You got it! Chat away!
The cost of living in SETA
Travellers often encounter badly signposted roads when entering foreign countries, where locals appear reluctant to assist them, and then exploit their guests by charging them exorbitant sums of money.
Taxi drivers, tour operators, vendors and shop assistants target the visitors and then charge the earth for information not readily on hand.
Holidaymakers often leave feeling ripped off and spread the news of the bad service like wildfire.
The best analogy I can use, is that of diving with sharks.
As a scuba diver, I was first exposed to open water shark-diving in the waters of Mozambique. No cages, no weapons, and no shark diving experience.
I soon discovered that the threat wasn't from the sharks, but from the operators who charged enormous amounts for the privilege of diving with these magnificent creatures.
These operators often remind me of some of the unscrupulous so-called SETA / QCTO “accreditation” specialists. Rip-off artists to say the least, preying on desperate wannabe Training Providers (more about the good ones later in the article).
If only the road ahead was straight and simple, well sign posted with sufficient obvious information kiosks along the way.
Every aspiring Training Provider who wishes to apply for SETA / QCTO accreditation in their personal capacity, is required to “reinvent the wheel”.
The brain and bum-numbing repetition and requirements have eliminated countless players who could have made a massive contribution to the upskilling of our workforce.
Now, when interacting with prospective clients, you will find customers asking questions like, “Are you accredited” or “Has the training material been accredited?”.
Well-meaning initiates frequently have a superficial grasp of SAQAish and toss the terminology about with great abandon.
Are you accredited?
Sometimes the question is, “Is your company approved” or “Are you registered?”.
They largely miss the point.
That's like merely asking a person whether they have a driver's license or not?
On affirmation and without any further scrutiny, the keys are entrusted to the so-called driver [or Training Provider], without checking whether they are licensed for that specific code, have a history of accidents or previous convictions.
Employers often gullibly believe whatever the Training Provider tells them, without the required due diligence.
Employers should be asking the following questions:
- Will you make the training Risk-Specific?
- Is your Facilitator a “subject matter” specialist?
- Can you provide recent references?
- Are you able to guarantee the course material is original and not plagiarised?
- Do you own the course material copyright?
- Are you fully tax compliant?
- Which Unit Standards are you aligned for?
- Are your constituent Facilitators, Assessors and Moderator's registered against the required Unit Standards?
- When does your accreditation expire?
- Can we have a copy of your SETA accreditation certificate or letter?
- Is the SETA / QCTO accreditation number, or that of another accredited provider?
- Will you be issuing a “Certificate of Competency” or a “Certificate of Attendance”?
- Are you operating under a SLA or MOU with another accredited provider?
- Can we see the agreement or mem?
- What happened is the learners fail to submit their PoE?
- When will we receive our certificates? and so forth and so on.
Download the useful FREE “Preparing For SETA Accreditation Checklist”.
Now, take a deep breath. Our adventure continues.
Are we there yet?
Employers and providers on this excursion need to answer the universal question, “If you don't know where you're going, how will you know when you get there?”.
Until they do, the Risk-Specific selection of training for employees will probably be an amateurish hit and miss process.
That's like embarking on a holiday without a clear idea of what you want to achieve. You need to ask yourself, “Is the vacation a cultural experience, relaxation, adventure, a visit to family and friends, an exploration of new cuisine, or just a break from daily routine?”.
With respect and retrospection, some of these objectives could be fulfilled by watching YouTube.
Not knowing the destination can radically affect the outcome. Merely saying you want to go to Ladysmith is not enough.
Do you know that there are other towns elsewhere in the world known by the same name?
A local example is that of Ladysmith in KwaZulu-Natal or Ladismith in the Klein Karroo. There is another Ladysmith in Canada.
A typical example is saying, “I want my staff to receive health and safety training”.
This usually occurs without anyone scrutinising and selecting the critical course content from a growing list of over 170 related health and safety courses and topics.
Get the point?
The same applies to, “I must have my employees trained” or “it must be accredited”.
The question I ask is why?
Why do you want them trained?
Is it to ensure they are not injured or contract a disease, provide them with skills, increase their production capacity or improve their promotability?
Or are you merely ticking boxes required by law, clawing back the miniscule percentage of the Skills Levy rebate, or accumulating B-BBEE or NQF credits?
“Training”, like destinations, differ from person to person and organisation to organisation.
Why only training? Why not info, promo or instructions?
Buckle up and allow me to provide you with some insights into the pothole riddled road ahead.
The Occupational Health and Safety Act uses three vaguely defined words that are often misinterpreted or completely ignored, i.e. “Inform, Instruct and Train”. It also speaks of health and safety “promotion”.
The trendy one is training.
No one seems keen to control, regulate or monitor the required “Information”, “Instructions” and “Promotion”.
Ironically, what is often termed training, is nothing more than information under a fanciful guise.
If no quantifiable skills have been transferred and measured, then it's not training. It's an information session, akin to attending a conference. This does not require SETA accreditation.
So, know where you want to go, be specific, otherwise you may find yourself on the wrong route.
Researching our new replacement family vehicle, I discovered terminology and acronyms that were so foreign, I had to Google the specifications.
I have to confess I am not a petrol head and don't know much about SUV’s tech-spec.
Having owned countless sedans, I've never once been asked why I wanted to buy a new car.
The “Super Salesperson” incomprehensibly babbled on about the specifications, without trying to determine whether there was a fit that would suit our adapting lifestyle.
Most salespeople I encounter are sales takers and talkers. Watch out for the salesperson flogging a “one size fits all” health and safety related training solution.
It’s cool to use techno-terms when discussing a topic. Drop them like jewels and your audience will think you are, oh so clever.
With the advent of the SETA system, common terminology and training techniques morphed to embrace OBE [Outcomes Based Education] methodology and speak.
Trainers and Instructors are now called “Facilitators”. Those who are “Registered”, proudly refer to themselves as “Constituent”.
What we previously referred to as delegates, participants or students, are now “learners”. The boring English words describing tests “during” and “after” the lessons, have now become “formative” and “summative”.
Old school tests and examinations are now called “Assessments”. Examiners are referred to as “Moderators”. Skills have been renamed “competencies” and failure, as “Not Yet Competent”.
It all sounds so nonchalant. Out with the old in with the new.
A deep, dank pothole to be aware of, is that Facilitators should be qualified to drive the bus, so to speak. This is traditionally NOT a SETA requirement. Anyone can be a trainer.
By completing a 4-day ETDP SETA Facilitator course, the required 100 notional hours, submitting their PoE to the accredited Training Provider, receiving the SOR, registering their qualification on the NLRD and having significant knowledge of the subject matter and functional training experience, should be the minimum prerequisite for your trainer.
From start to finish, this excursion may take 12 months or more.
A side-alley one may have to navigate, is that Employers cannot appoint a qualified teacher to Assess or Moderate a 1-day to 1-week course.
Despite having graduated with an internationally recognised three-year bachelor's degree in higher education, teachers are still required to complete a 4-day ETDP SETA Assessor or Moderator training course, often presented by a non-graduate or undergo the long winded RPL process, before they may assess or moderate a one-day training course.
Strangely, this is like telling a capable licensed bus driver to acquire a standard motor vehicle driver’s license before embarking on a journey. The proliferation of ETDP SETA accredited training establishments have become the “teacher training colleges” for the training industry.
It is what it is, so let’s move on.
The Tour Coach Driver – the Fanciful Facilitator
By the way, did I mention that there are 2 types of facilitators in the NQF system?
The first is the SDF [Skills Development Facilitator] who develops and manages the WSP [Workplace Skills Plan], the reports and rebate claims. You could call them administrators. Different people. Different roles.
Then there are the actual Facilitators who facilitate learning. We knew them as teachers, trainers and instructors.
The vast difference between a boring and brilliant facilitator can make a world of difference to the learners experience and application of lifesaving health and safety knowledge and skills.
Fire the boring, hire the brilliant!
Employers who fail to evaluate the Facilitator’s ability to transfer skills and knowledge, do themselves and their employees a massive disservice!
You Are Not Alone - Learning Assumed to be in Place
Aspirant applicants discover barriers, bridges, bumps and bypasses on the way to accreditation.
Expect a bottleneck or two on the journey.
When visiting our local SETA office, I felt rather like an outsider. We were attended to by a courteous, but under-informed advisor who had clearly never worked in the training field.
It was a story I have often heard told. Yet, I was determined to get to know the landscape, the locals and the language.
My queries included the unambiguous SAQA Unit Standard requirement for “LEARNING ASSUMED TO BE IN PLACE AND RECOGNITION OF PRIOR LEARNING”.
My example related to the SAQA required entry level qualification for the training of compulsory health and safety induction and awareness training, for countless millions of permanent and temporary employees.
The LEARNING ASSUMED TO BE IN PLACE AND RECOGNITION OF PRIOR LEARNING of “Communication at NQF Level 1 or equivalent” and “Mathematical Literacy at NQF Level 1 or equivalent” for this training is exceedingly difficult to comply with, resulting in employers not being able to select, train and have unschooled workers declared “competent”.
My second illustration was that of “Communication at ABET level 3” and “Mathematical Literacy at ABET level 3” for employees wishing to enrol on a GSR 3 Level One First Aid Course.
I pointed out that on that basis, it was a near impossibility for illiterate or partially literate employees to attend and qualify as first aiders.
She couldn't disagree.
Her over-simplified response was that employers should send all employees on an initial 3-week ABET course, prior to receiving health and safety induction or first aid training, etc.
Having explained to her that many of our target groups included deckhands, construction, general, manufacturing and agricultural workers, with no formal education whatsoever, our SETA specialist shrugged her shoulders and stated in that case they should not be hired or selected for training.
I wanted to point out to her that this was possibly an unconstitutional and discriminatory practice, but chose not to debate the issue with her.
With more than a quarter of our citizens who find themselves unemployed, I found her lack of comprehension disconcerting.
Many who have succeeded in finding work, are still discriminated against by the ill-conceived standard conceptualised in the SAQA requirement for LEARNING ASSUMED TO BE IN PLACE AND RECOGNITION OF PRIOR LEARNING.
It also forces employers to use untrained employees in conflict with obvious legal requirements.
The elaborate practice of RPL [ Recognition of Prior Learning] for most general workers, is one that has yet to be embraced by Employers.
Confusingly, it would appear that employers are expected to substitute the role of the Department of Education and educate their unschooled workforce.
It's all the world like tour operators having to pay tourists to ride the bus.
Portfolio of Evidence - Keeping A Journal
For many a travel journal is an excellent way of recalling the experiences and memories from a holiday.
My son Nathan and I travelled from Cape Town to Mozambique in what we called our Annandale “Drive and Dive”.
I kept a journal which I presented to him as an adult.
The memories were phenomenal and included him qualifying as a scuba diver and learning to drive our 4 by 4 in difficult terrain.
Nathan has since gone on to become a dive instructor, commercial diver and dive boat skipper.
Your learners are required to prepare a journal or PoE [Portfolio of Evidence] on return to the workplace.
A supervisor or mentor is assigned to them to provide hands-on, real-life experience. They record this information in their PoE which they hopefully submit to the Training Provider.
As my French friends would say, “Bonne chance!” Good luck with that!
It's important to note that in some instances it becomes very difficult for a Training Provider to guarantee their learners will complete their PoE and be issued with a “Certificate of Competency”.
This matter needs to be managed very closely in conjunction with the employer, the learner and the facilitator.
This roadblock, if not closely managed, could result in the players short circuiting the NQF system, stealing valuable training time, and deceitfully helping the learners complete their PoE and Notional Hours in the classroom.
Some Training Providers and employers resort to online training, completely contradicting the NQF system.
Others are known to fraudulently complete the PoE on behalf of the learner without their knowledge or involvement.
Don't do that!
Sadly, many passengers jump off the bus and never bother to submit the PoE and as a result are never declared “Competent” and simply walk away with a “Certificate of Attendance”, not the valued “Certificate of Competency” or the highly desired credits.
Are we there yet?
A curious stop specific to the legal-compliance 1, 2 and 3 day short-course learner’s journey is that of “Notional Hours”.
This relates to the time spent during and after the training, enumerating their knowledge and experience on a ratio of 10 “notional hours” for every credit awarded.
A Notional Hour represents the average time a learner is expected to spend completing the specified learning outcomes and includes all relevant learning such as:
- Lectures, teaching time and coursework.
- Fieldwork, tutorials, oral presentations, practical workplace projects and private study.
- Preparation of the PoE.
- Participation in exams, formative and summative assessments and attendance of seminars or workshops.
The token 1 day Health and Safety Rep training Unit Standard “Describe the functions of the workplace health and safety representative”, states that the 3 credits assigned to this Unit Standard are based on the assumption that learners can read, write and communicate in one of the official languages at NQF Level 1.
It also oddly presupposes a total of 30 hours must be spent training volunteer health and safety representatives, in and out of the classroom.
Apologists claim this is merely a guideline and suggest that this requirement can be fudged in the interests of expediency.
Meet the Bus Conductor – the Assessor
Mid-journey, you will be required to engage the services of a suitably qualified, experienced and registered Assessor, who assesses or evaluates the quality of the training process, the learner’s grasp of the subject and the learner’s PoE. When done, they submit their report to the Training Provider.
Assessors are not usually Facilitators and ideally Facilitators should not be the programme Assessor, but this happens as a matter of course. I perceive an obvious conflict of interest.
Your Assessor’s subject matter expertise and workplace experience is critical to accurately determine the competency of the learner.
Diligent Employers will discover an oversupplied market of so-called “Johnny-come-lately” Assessors and Moderators who are ready to cut corners, change lanes, jump traffic lights and violate the rules of the road.
Remain vigilant, do your due diligence, and ensure your Assessor is capable of not only the academic and administrative elements, but also has a thorough appreciation of the subject matter.
As occupational health and safety is a science, the Assessor should ideally have a general scientific or engineering background.
The Big Bus Company Inspector – the Moderator
The Training Provider hands the Assessor’s feedback, together with supporting documentation, to an external moderator who moderates or examines the entire process. They report back to the Training Provider who then prepares for the next stop. The Facilitator and assessor can and should for obvious reasons not be the Moderator.
The Traffic Department Inspector - SETA / QCTO Verification
The journey doesn't end there. The Training Provider invites their SETA / QCTO to what I call “The Verification Cycle”.
This compulsory stop is required to validate the entire process of facilitation, assessment, moderation and certification.
Following that, the SOR [Statements of Results] are issued, learners are declared “Competent” or distressingly “not yet competent” and the Training Provider is authorised to issue a “Certificate of Competency” or “Certificate of NOT YET Competent”.
Once found competent, the Training Provider uploads the learner’s details and credits on the NLRD [National Learners Records Database] and provides the necessary records to the employer.
The Learner's Licence
Proof of participation in an OHS learning process is a legislated requirement. A letter or certificate of “attendance, participation, completion or compliance” represents the learner’s capacity to perform a task or appreciation of theoretical knowledge.
Learners who have not completed the Verification Cycle do not qualify for a certificate of “competency” or the allocation of NQF credits on their NLRD records.
Training providers must caution employers that unless completed, they are not able to issue a “Certificate of Competency”.
Those who do, possibly commit fraud.
To resolve this major issue, Training Providers are advised to include an “Understanding of Roles and Responsibilities of the Training Provider and the Employer” in their terms and conditions.
Failure to do so could also have implications in terms of the Consumer Protection Act.
And now for the final stop - Employers still to determine competency
If by now your bum is numb from the hard bus seat, take heart. We're almost at the end of the trail.
If the learner didn't get motion sickness, hop off the bus or fall asleep, we now have an employee who is regarded by the NQF system as “competent” and an employer who is regarded by the legislation as “compliant”.
The onerous obligation still rests on the shoulders of the employer to satisfy themselves whether the learner acquired sufficient knowledge or skill to allow the employee to work.
Employers are urged not to rely on “the-say-so” of a certificate or the word of the Training Provider.
This is their legal duty.
Alighting our bus, bolder, brighter and ready for the next adventure
Our tour bus has completed the circuit and you the passenger, has experienced the delights of the city of SETA from a safe and secure place.
As we disembark, we step back into the real world with entrancing opportunities and options. We hang on to our ticket with delight, as a reminder of our journey.
Romantically, we wonder what it would be like to live in that city. Some trainers go back to their old way of life, while others accept the challenge to create a new life in a new city, despite the sometimes bumpy and bum-numbing, dusty and dreary journey to SETA / QCTO accreditation.
Selecting your master Tour Guide or Accreditation Service Provider
The choice of an economy, business class or first-class ticket is up to the traveller.
Some like backpackers, may wish to do it themselves. Alternatively, you could turn to a tour guide who specializes is in the given area.
Once again, the principle of “caveat emptor” applies.
As your career, future and reputation depends on it, we urge you to do you due diligence, interview the provider, scrutinise their credentials, check their Del [DoL] registration and tax clearance and demand a comprehensive all-inclusive quote from them.
The Service Provider that INTRA use for our Accreditation has an admirable success record and a fair pricing structure.
As a result, we feel comfortable referring their SETA accreditation services to our AFFILIATES, a number of whom have already received their accreditation “Golden Ticket”..
The SETA / QCTO journey may require specialist consultants to hold your hand and course development specialists to write or provide your training material.
Providers may need assistance to administrate and ensure the SETA documentation is complete an archived.
It's not cheap, but, if you want to succeed, don't be cheap. SETA Accreditation cost are all tax deductible.
Just as a travel passport or visa application requires documentation, so too the SETA / QCTO accreditation application requires your credentials.
These include a valid CIPC registration, SARS Tax Clearance and B-BBEE certificate.
In addition, you will need your latest financial statements, a QMS [Quality Management System] and your company standards and policies.
Depending on the Unit Standards you are applying for, you will also need to select and provide your SETA / QCTO with training material for their scrutiny and evaluation.
Your application must also be accompanied by a business plan, proof of a suitable venue and the necessary training equipment and facilities.
Once all the documentation has been submitted to the SETA, it's a matter of waiting for their review and feedback.
Included in the process is the required registration with the QCTO and DHET. If applying to provide First Aid training, an application for approval from the DEL must also be submitted.
The glorious day arrives when you get the call or letter stating that your accreditation has been granted and your number has been issued.
This is the proverbial “Golden Ticket” and in the hands of the right person, provides a means to impact lives and support your family.
The highs and lows of this journey have been experienced by others who dreamt of having a SETA / QCTO accredited training company and achieved it.
Is There Another Route?
Those travellers who decide not to go the SETA / QCTO accreditation route at this stage, are able to shortcut many of the required NQF steps and provide legitimate customizable legal-compliance, non-credit bearing, short-course training.
This is often an excellent place where newcomers start, as it allows you the opportunity to generate income in order to fund your SETA / QCTO application process and start-up business.
An interesting detour to delay the initial SETA / QCTO costs, is to register as a Saiosh Corporate Member and apply for CPD accreditation of your training courses.
Beware of Bogus Brokers!
A word of caution to travellers intending to buy “off-the-shelf” training material.
Thoroughly evaluate the material you will be investing in. Ensure the developer or provider guarantees that the material has not been plagiarised, offers a solid money-back guarantee and is willing to engage with you in a transparent and open manner. Ask them for a “Certificate of non-plagiarisation”.
As with all travel, there are con artists, hustlers, criminals, charlatans and plagiarisers. Do the plagiarisation test on their material. Use a free online “Plagiarism Checker” and demand a written guarantee of copyright and content origination and ownership.
When taking a journey, make sure that your fellow passengers and service providers are ethical, market-orientated, and don't waste your time and money.
Driver, Start the bus!
In a country where unemployment and a lack of skills is so evident, I urge you to embark on the journey.
Acquire the training material and get your SETA / QCTO Accreditation in place.
Don't give up.
Pursue your dream and vision with vigour.
With determination and drive you are sure to reach your destination and change the lives of your learners and your dependents. SETA accreditation benefits are numerous.
Make a point of asking lots of questions, do your research, watch the YouTube video clips and speak to experienced and failed Training Providers. Their insights will help you navigate this voyage effectively.
Our extensive range of Health and Safety Training Material can assist you on this adventurous journey.
Finally, this “Golden Ticket” and entry to the training world doesn't guarantee success, but you will discover that it opens doors to markets you never dreamt of entering.
Bon voyage mon ami!
Ken is the author of “The One Minute SAFETY Manager”, “Movers & Shakers, Moaners & Groaners” and Co-Founder and CEO of INTRA. Our AFFILIATE Licensees operate as independent business owners using our services in the area of ★ Training Material ★ Training of Trainers ★ SETA Accreditation ★ Business Support
INTRA SETA accreditation is pending.