The Labour Portfolio Committee
Date: 19th March 2003
By: Thami Vallihu-Chief Executive Officer
Onke Mlindi-Skills Development Manager

Table of Contents

1 Introduction *
2 Vision and Mission *
3 Strategic objectives and initiatives *
4 NSDS Objectives *
6 Learneships *

The Tourism Hospitality and Sport Education and Training Authority
("THETA") is a training authority responsible for train interventions
namely within the Travel, hospitality, conservation guiding, gambling
and lotteries as well as sport, recreation and fitness industries.
Theta’s objective is therefore to successfully deliver on its mandate
as detailed in the Skills Development Act and further ensure that we
exceed stakeholder expectations in delivering our obligations and
commitments to the industries we service.
Tourism had been identified as the industry with the potential to
become South Africa’s top foreign currency earner and a major
creator of economic growth and development. The world Tourism
Organisation estimates internationally tourism activity is responsible
for 1 in 12 jobs. In this light South Africa Tourism has spearheaded
initiatives of marketing South Africa as an attractive destination. While
this stimulation of demand is vital in creating job opportunities, it has
to be supported by the enhancement and development of required
skills and competency levels to ensure that we adhere to international
accepted service standards. Theta therefore, has a critical role to play
in the skills development and quality assurance of these sectors.
Theta further actively supports government’s initiatives and
programmes of black economic empowerment, employment equity in
an endeavour to redress the historic imbalances, by enhancing and
creating opportunities for the involvement of historically
disadvantaged people of our country.

Vision and Mission

Strategic objectives and initiatives

Theta fully supports the strategic objectives of the Department of
Labour as defined in the Skills Development Act, No. 97 of 1998
which are:
Develop and implement the sector skills plan
Promote and register Learneships
Apply for and attain accreditation form the South African
Qualifications (SAQA) as an Education and Training Quality
Assurance Body (ETQA)
Collect and disburse Skills Development Levies
Liaise with the National Skills Authority on the National Skills
Development policy and strategy
Report to the Director General on income and expenditure and
the implementation of the sector skills plan and information
relating to the employment opportunities and education and
Appoint staff necessary for the performance of its functions
Perform any other duties imposed by the Act or consistent with its purposes.
The Department of Labour ("DOL") has furthermore allotted to each SETA the task
of meeting defined targets within the National Skills Development Strategy ("NSDS")
Theta is required to sign a Memorandum of Understanding ("MOU") each year with
projected targets indicated. Theta’s performance is measured by the
progress made towards achieving the set targets.
In achieving the set MOU targets Theta will embark on creating an
environment conducive for operational success through the following
Establish Business Oriented Culture through:
Development of a culture of operational excellence and quality assurance
Customer focused organisation and orientation with the view to exceed
customer’s expectations.
Research and development to build industry knowledge and
trends and understand requirements
Design, develop and implement sustainable effective and
stream line business processes
Zero tolerance for corruption, fraud and mismanagement
Develop and capacitate our employees to ensure the required
levels of competency and performance
Measure performance and reward excellence

NSDS Objectives
Objective 1-Developing a culture of high quality life long learning
Theta has programmes geared towards achieving high quality education in its sub-
sectors. To date we have implemented learnerships, skills programmes through the
projects and we have achieved the following:
At NQF level 1 qualifications in Hospitality we have trained 7500 workers
We have placed 300 qualified learners in work places which were trained through the ("Tourism Learnership Project") TLP project.
To encourage employer organisation to train people through chamber interventions and market and advocacy
Sector has a huge percentage of SMME’s and the operation span of
SMME’s is inconsistent and limited, therefore it poses a challenge to
assess and track learners within this sector.
Objective 2- Fostering skills Development in the Formal economy
Theta has interventions and programmes geared towards this objective. We
have increased the skills development through interaction with the business
organisations and in particular their Skills Development Facilitators. Further,
we provide assistance to SDF’s in ensuring that we receive quality and
compliant WSP’s. We do believe that through Theta’s Chambers we will be
able to increase the compliance and development of organisations Work Place
Skills Plans ("WSP")
Increase in Levy payments and Grant claims
Increase in compliance and quality of submitted WSP’s
Enhanced implementation of the National Qualifications
Framework ("NQF")
SMME’s are faced with a major challenge of training of employees due
to the limited financial resources and the level of the required
intervention. Thus there is a requirement of another source of funding
to capacitate employees.
The marketing strategy and penetration of the different organisation
largely determined the extent to which Theta’s initiatives and training
interventions are effective.
Objective 3-Stimulating and supporting Skills Development in Small Businesses
Theta’s mandate is to create economic growth through SMME
development. In this end Theta has increased its role in this sector
through training intervention designed to capacitate SMME organisations
and further to provide support networks for sourcing finance and
infrastructure requirements. Some of the are Ntsika, Ndlela, TEP, NBI etc.
During financial period 2001-2002, 150 SMME enterprises have
received discretionary grant for implementing skills development
Through the South African Tourism Institute we have made available
education and skill tools to Hospitality sector of "Bread and
Breakfast". The initiative was in collaboration with Department of
Education and Sunday Times Newspaper. The initiative has created
on going interest from the public, and this has proved to Theta that
the intervention was effective. It has increased SMME participation in
the Hospitality sector.

Objective 4-Promoting Skills Development for Sustainable livelihood through social development initiatives
There are namely two initiatives that are funded through the NSF, namely, The
Tourism Learnership Project and Integrated Nature based Tourism and
Conservation Management Project ("INTAC")
TLP project


Target for four-year project life
(ending June 2004)

Achieved to 30 September 2002

Qualifications submitted



Qualifications registered with SAQA



Training practitioners trained



Assessment practitioners trained



Employer learners achieved hospitality unit standards

12 000

8 500

Employed learners achieved skills programmes

6 000

2 873

Employed learners to have achieved qualifications through learnerships

3 000

1 923

Unemployed learners registered for learnerships

5 000

2 349

The INTAC Project:
By end of 2005 Theta through the INTAC project would have trained
6500 learners in the following disciplines: conservation, Tourism
Management, Hospitality, Customer Care, SMME development.
Sourcing funding for other chambers to ensure balanced intervention in our sector.
The chambers and industry organisation are at different growth curves
i.e. some at introductory stage and others at maturity stages. Therefore
this requires a well designed training intervention to meet their
operational requirements

Objective 5-Assisting new entrance into employment "Exit Strategy"
Theta has initiated intervention for learner placement with key service
providers and placement agencies. Through the |INTAC project we have
guaranteed placements with organisations in the 10sites identified for the
INTAC training intervention. Further though the TLP project we have placed
300 learners and counting in places of employment. In addition we have
designed a learner, monitoring and tracking strategy to ensure sustainability
of the initiatives.

Functions of Education and Training Quality Assurance Bodies

An Education and Training Quality Assurance Body shall-
Accredit constituent providers for specific standards or qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework;
Promote quality amongst constituent providers;
Monitor provision by constituent providers;
Evaluate assessment and facilitation of moderation among constituent providers;
Register constituent assessors for specified registered standards or qualifications in terms of the criteria established for this purpose;
Take responsibility for the certification of constituent learners;
Co-operate with the relevant body or bodies appointed to moderate across Education and Training Quality Assurance Bodies including but not limited to, moderating the quality assurance on specified standards or qualifications for which one or more Education and Training Quality Assurance Bodies are accredited;
Recommend new standards or qualifications to National Standards Bodies for consideration, or modifications to existing standards or qualifications to National Standards Bodies for consideration;
Maintain a data-base acceptable to the Authority;
Submit reports to the Authority in accordance with the requirements of the Authority, and
perform such other functions as may from time-to-time be assigned to it by the Authority.

The implementation of a revised Accreditation system in line with legislative requirements and customer demand. This includes the capacity building of auditors and conducting audits.
Learners successfully registered and certificated.
Registration of qualifications with SAQA.
Development of an internal quality management system.
Development of policies related to assessment and moderation.
Duly constituted Quality Committee.
Development of Quality Policy and process for quality planning.
Implementation of the management Information System ("MIS")

IT Infrastructure to support systems, policies, processes and procedures has hampered effective implementation.
Limited communication strategies to support customers in the implementation of SETA ETQA requirements.

A learnership is a vocationally directed learning programme which involves
structured on-the-job and off-the job (or formal) learning; and results in the
learner achieving a qualification which is registered on the National
Qualifications Framework (NQF). The aim of learnerships is to ensure that
learners, on completion of the learning programme, are competent to carry
out a specific job, with the required essential embedded (or underpinning)
knowledge and the skills to perform required tasks. The percentage ratio of
structured workplace and formal learning is generally accepted at 70%
workplace learning and 30% formal learning.

According to the Skills Development Act (No 97 of 1998), a SETA may establish a learnership if:
The learnership consists of a structured learning component;
The learnership includes practical work experience of a specified nature and duration;
The learnership would lead to a qualification qualifications registered by SAQA and related to an occupation; and
The intended learnership is registered with the Director General in the prescribed manner.

According to the Skills Development Act (No 97 of 1998) Annexure A, learnerships may be identified by the SETA through the following means:
SETA sector skills plan
Skills plans from "adjacent" SETAs
Generally available research
SETA commissioned research
Workplace skills plans
Other (for example, focus groups)

Learnerships which are registered by the Department of Labour must lead to
qualifications registered on the NQF. For this reason, the learning
programme that constitutes a learnership should run over a period of
approximately 12 months (120 credits = 1 200 notional hours of learning = 12

Learnership agreements are legally binding documents which are signed by
the learner, the employer and the registered training provider for the duration
of the learnership (usually 12 months). The learnership agreement spells out
the rights and duties of the learner, the registered training provider and the
employer; and addresses issues such as termination of the agreement and
dispute resolution. In addition, should the learner be unemployed at the time
of commencement of the learnership (an 18.2 learner in terms of the Act), a
contract of employment must be signed between the learner and the
employer for the duration of the learnership. Once the learnership is
complete, the employer is under no obligation to continue to employ learner.
However, if the learner was employed by the employer prior to the
commencement of the learnership, the learner’s terms and conditions of
employment do not change as a result of the learnership agreement being
signed. The learner continues to work for the employer after completion of
the learnership. Both employed (18.1) and unemployed (18.2) learners are
subject the rules and regulations of the employer for the duration of the

Tax incentives
Legislation providing income tax breaks to employers who enter into registered learnership agreements with learners has been promulgated (by way of the insertion of section 12H into the Income Tax Act no. 58 of 1962).

The income tax breaks offered to employers are the following:
A deduction from income for income tax purposes of a maximum amount of R25 000 for every registered learnership agreement entered into by the employer with a person not employed with him; and
A deduction from income for income tax purposes of a maximum amount of R17 500 for every registered learnership agreement entered into by the employer with any of his employees; and
A further deduction from income for income tax purposes of a maximum of 25 000 in respect of every completed registered learnership agreement.

The maximum effective income tax savings for employers (who are in a tax-paying position) are therefore the following:
R15 000 for each registered learnership agreement entered into and completed with a person who is not an employee of the employer (where the employer is a company or a close corporation); or
R20 000 for each registered learnership agreement entered into and completed with a person who is not an employee of the employer (where the employer is an individual or sole proprietor that is being taxed at the highest marginal income tax rate); or
R12 750 for each registered learnership agreement entered into and completed with an employee oaf the employer (where the employer is a company or close corporation); or
R17 000 for each registered learnership agreement entered into and completed with an employee of the employer (where the employer is an individual or sole proprietor that is being taxed at the highest marginal income tax rate).

Successes in learnerships can be measured by:
The successful completion of learners through the programme.
Although it is acknowledged that training has created and will never create jobs, the placement of unemployed learners into permanent jobs after the completion of learnerships is an indicator of the relevance of the learnership to the sector. This however does assume that the absorptive capacity of the sector makes this result possible.
The sector’s response in terms of the value of the learnership and employer willingness to remain involved in the implementation of learnerships.

THETA success include the registration of approximately 5 000 learners (employed and unemployed) onto learnerships, in a variety of sub-sectors and industries.

Constraints / Challenges
Some of the challenges facing learnerships are:
Employer’s involvement for financial gain, if grants and incentives are offered.
Lack of understanding by employers, providers, learners, SETAs and DoL that learnerships are not the only means of implementing learning initiatives and that, in many instances, skills programmes or other vehicles for learning may be more appropriate, depending on the circumstance.
Sector readiness in terms of planning for learnership implementation, a process which often takes employers longer than expected.
General lack of knowledge of and compliance to basic conditions of employment, labour, and skills development legislation by providers and employers, leading to provision of learning and learning environments which constitute a risk for the learner in terms of successful completion of the learners will ensure that its operations are fully aligned and adhere to SAQA requirements.