What is CETA?

Established according to the Skills Development Act 97 of 1998, the Construction Education and Training Authority (CETA) is one of the 21 Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) and has been in operation since April 2000.  

One of the many objectives of the Skills Development Act 97 of 1998 is developing skills for South Africa’s youth who are part of the labour force. It is also aimed at increasing funding for education and vocational training and promotion of skills development training. In addition to these objectives, the Skills Development Act aims to motivate the workforce to engage in learnership programs and increase employment prospects via vocational training and theoretical education. Furthermore, this Act guarantees better training and education in terms of quality and helps green job-seekers with work placements.

CETA, one of the 21 SETAs, has a role in serving the South African economy’s construction industry. Just like other SETAs, It reports to the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). There are five sub-sectors of the CETA with the construction industry, all of which function differently and specifically. 

As an extensive sector, the construction sector deals with numerous activities that have to do with maintenance, construction, installation, and renovation of different forms of properties. The five sub-sectors include the electrical sub-sector, the roads, the civil engineering sub-sector; the materials and manufacturing sub-sector; the building construction sub-sector; and the built environment profession. These sub-sectors deal with diverse areas of the construction sector.

The electrical construction sub-sector handles electric systems in homes and other buildings. This sub-sector involves the wiring and assembling of these systems. Workers in this sector also install signal communication systems as well as fix electrical equipment. The sub-sector, which involves activities that concern road construction and maintenance, road repair, and services, is called the roads and civil construction sub-sector. This sub-sector also involves the construction and maintenance of bridges, runways, tunnels, and similar structures. It also provides various road services.

The largest construction sub-sector, building construction, is concerned with the industry contractors, such as building engineers, mechanical contractors, and other workers involved in related fields. The materials and manufacturing sub-sector, as its name implies, involves manufacturing and production of products and materials used in the industry like concrete, cement, tiles, roof trusses, and wooden products. The fifth sub-sector is the built environment professions sub-sector and covers the construction industry professionals from the engineers to the architects and quantity surveyors. The sub-sector also includes other professionals like construction managers, town/regional planners, and land surveyors. These professionals are all guided by the Built Environment Professions Act.

The CETA, one of the SETAs that was re-certified in 2011, went through many adjustments. The major change involved incorporating an already existing SETA, the Energy Sector Education and Training Authorities (ESETA). Electrical contractors fall under this SETA, and they are important in the construction sector. The South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) accredited the CETA as an Education and Training Quality Assurance (ETQA) body.

What is the function of CETA?

The CETA is one of the 21 SETAs, and it primarily performs the functions of a SETA, particularly in the construction industry. One of the major functions of the SETAs is to evaluate the education and training needs of the workforce in the construction industry. The SETAs also provide skills development and provision for training to enable efficiency in the workplace. They are aimed at enhancing the standards of education as well as vocational training.

The CETA specifically works to deliver services that provide skills development training, according to the stipulations of the National Skills Development Strategy (NSDS). Another one of the CETA objectives is to produce people that can compete globally in the construction industry by equipping them with the necessary and pertinent skills needed to build this sector.

To provide these services and tend to the needs in various SETAs, they must make necessary findings on the specific needs of employers in their sectors in terms of skills and theoretical knowledge. The SETAs also evaluate the specific skills and courses the training providers are offering, as there needs to be a balance between what is in demand and what is being offered. There may be a skills gap if there is no balance between the demand and the supply, which is where the SETAs come into play. The SETAs pinpoint these gaps and work towards closing them. They do this through skills development training and education, specifically provided by accredited training centers’ training providers.

The SETAs also fund various learning initiatives. These include learnerships, internships, skill acquisition programs, and apprenticeships. In many public tertiary institutions, SETAs also provide bursaries to encourage students.

CETA was established in April 2000, according to the Skills Development Act, passed in 1998. Since then, it has positively affected skills development and training in a large and specialized sector, the construction industry. The CETA has also verified that the required skills and knowledge needed in the construction industry are made available by setting high standards for training centers and training providers throughout the country. However, the CETA does not particularly organize courses but the influence of such processes.

The standards, as set out by the National Qualifications Framework (NQF), define the requirements of the construction industry in terms of skills and training. People who intend to join the industry’s labour force must possess such skills to maintain quality in the sector. These standards ensure that the CETA organizes learnerships and skills acquisition projects that provide such training and enhances the workforce’s capacity within the country. The CETA has also functioned as Education and Training Quality Assurance (ETQA) since its accreditation by the South Africa Qualifications Authority (SAQA). This accreditation by SAQA means that the CETA body is permitted to certify training providers and institutions. The SAQA accreditation helps learners make informed decisions about the courses they wish to take and training centers they wish to attend and eventually help their employment opportunities after completing the training. CETA’s core business division is responsible for research, planning, reporting, quality control, and developing learning pathways to facilitate CETA’s objectives.

CETA Accreditation

Considering the CETA mission, which provides formal skills training as an opportunity for economic development and infrastructural growth, the CETA is responsible for accrediting training providers who empower students with the necessary skills. This strategy is one avenue by which they facilitate skills development, besides monitoring projects, certifying learners, and developing a skills plan for the construction industry. After accreditation of training providers, the CETA also ensures that training is of a high quality and standard.

Accreditation of training centres is very important and beneficial for the students as it helps them get internship placements and apprenticeships. Particularly in the construction sector, high standards are a prerequisite for any training provider, and these standards involve high-quality training and skills development.

The CETA has continued to improve these standards by accrediting colleges and training centres that meet the set requirements. The body has been mandated to supervise training delivery by the training centers and training providers to maintain high standards. 

The CETA may not directly provide formal education or training for the industry. Still, it ensures that the industry workers or those seeking to work in the construction sector are equipped with the required skills and information. The body also eases the acquisition of desired skills by those who already work in the industry but do not have the necessary qualifications, as they have the relevant learning experience. The CETA assists these people through the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) program that enables them to apply for jobs and positions which they are not fully qualified for even though they have the skills. The RPL assessment allows these people to meet the specific qualification required by employers in this sector. Therefore, they can get opportunities to be in positions where they are paid more, thereby improving their living standards.

The accreditation process involves the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO), the CETA, the accreditation approval team, and the skills development providers. The QCTO evaluates and recommends the skills development provider to the CETA if he is qualified. The CETA then screens applicants and reports to the accreditation approval team. This team evaluates reports and generates an accreditation letter.

The department that oversees CETA’s workings is called the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). This department’s main objective is to improve the post-school system in South Africa by making it fully inclusive. A post-school system that is properly organized and provides necessary training and education for graduates will improve the economy of South Africa and enable overall development. The CETA also implements skills development training and learnerships, which develop the labour force in South Africa, particularly the human resources in the construction industry. The skills are recognized according to the standards of the National Qualifications Frameworks (NQF).

CETA Funding

The SETAs collect levies from employers in their sectors and disburse them appropriately. These levies are called Skills development levies. Employers in the various sectors are mandated to pay 1% of their earnings to the South African Revenue Services (SARS) every month. SETA receives about 80% of the funds generated from these employers and distributes them appropriately to different bodies in different sectors. These funds are used mainly for administrative purposes and for grants.

The CETA pays grants to companies in the construction industry eligible to receive generated funds. About 20% of the employer’s skills levy is used for these grants. To claim this percentage as a grant, employers must have a periodic training report and Workplace Skills Plan and submit them before April 30 every year. Some companies do not have to pay the levy, especially if they have a wage bill of R500 000 or less. 

Employers who pay these levies must meet certain requirements and criteria before they can be qualified for the grants in the sector. These employers must have paid their levies consistently without defaulting at any point, which the records will show, for them to be eligible for the grants. They must also be registered levy payers, according to the stipulations of the Skills Development Levies Act. A skills development facilitator (SDF) must be working for the employers as this is an important criterion for grant eligibility. The employer must submit the annual training report and the workplace skills plan before the stipulated date of submission to be qualified for the grant and must show that the previously submitted workplace skills plan for the previous tenure has been implemented.

Apart from the mandatory grants, there is also another form of grant known as discretionary grants, and these grants are paid based on the consideration of the SETA management. These grants are for skills development projects that require critical skills or skills in high demand and low supply. These skills are regarded as a priority for the sector, and the discretionary grants cater to them. The Professional, Vocational, Technical, and Academic Learning (PIVOTAL) programs are the major priority for these discretionary grants even though other programs are given grants. The CETA policy allows grants for PIVOTAL programs and the other programs.

Funding in the form of these grants is important for developing qualifications and developing research, and implementing sector skills plans. Allocation of Mandatory and Discretionary Grants enable a smooth-running process for employers, training providers, and employees. The overseeing Department of the CETA supervises the grant allocation system to develop skilled and efficient South African citizens who can contribute positively to the county’s economic development and compete internationally in such a resource-intensive economy.

How do you get a SETA learnership?

As part of its aim to increase the rate of employment and deliver well-educated people to the workforce, SETA provides learnerships ending with nationally recognized qualifications to individuals (interested) in South Africa’s construction industry. This learnership helps ensure that there is a standardization of the quality of entrants into the construction workforce. The SETA does this by offering hands-on training to companies in the construction industry and delivering well-educated people to the workforce. Learnerships are usually free and come at no cost to participants.

SETA runs learnership programs in fields that heavily impact the construction industry and include but are not limited to Materials Manufacturing, Built Environment Professions, Building Construction, and Roads and Civil Construction. The program aims to better the learning experience by offering practical hands-on training alongside theoretical knowledge. They offer candidates an opportunity for personal skills development and explore other parts of the South African region. Also, successful completion of the learnership program opens the door to being retained as a part of SETA, thus furthering employment opportunities for talented individuals.

There are certain criteria that candidates must meet to be eligible for the learnership program provided by SETA. Candidates must meet all requirements before submitting their application. Applicants must have a valid ID book or document and must hold a valid Grade 12 certification. They must also provide proof of residence, and learners with a disability must provide a medical certificate for disability.

All applications should be accompanied by a full CV and all the necessary documentation because late or incomplete applications may not be considered. The SETA learnership application is usually accessible online and available on the careers page and education page of companies in the sector. The applicants are also advised to provide details that are correct, consistent, and up-to-date. Required documents must be copies and not originals, and all areas that need to be filled should be done correctly and completely.

Learnership opportunities are within a period, and they usually have closing dates. These dates can only be confirmed when the learnerships opportunities are open. However, the usual period from which the opportunities are open in September usually closes by January of the following year. The necessary information can be found on websites, particularly the SETA website. All requirements must be met and required information submitted to facilitate the application process.

CETA Qualifications

There are departments in the CETA Core Business division, and these departments work closely in different capacities to facilitate the development of the construction industry and ensure skills are developed. The CETA Core Business ensures quality and high standards are maintained by supervising the CETA’s progress according to national and qualification standards.

This division is responsible for overseeing the development, implementation, and evaluation of the specified professional standards and qualifications. They do this by following the QCTO procedures. The division also certifies training providers for qualifications and part- qualifications according to the criteria from the QCTO. The learning pathways and quality development department registers assessors responsible for assessing learners for specified qualifications or part-qualifications according to the QCTO.

The newest approach for qualifications development is via the Development Quality Partner (DQP) process under the QCTO. Within five years, the CETA has a total of 50 qualifications that have been re-registered. This five year period is from 01 July 2018 to 30 June 2023. The NQF registered qualifications must be continually reviewed and assessed as they must align with the occupational qualifications, according to the QCTO.

The current NQF qualifications are gradually phasing out, and there is the development of new qualifications. The CETA’s partnership with the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) has enabled remarkable progress in developing the registered occupational qualifications. These registered qualifications must also be accredited with the QCTO.

The qualifications currently available on the CETA catalog include:

  • SAQA ID 20813 – National Certificate: Construction Contracting NQF 2
  • SAQA ID 24133 – National Certificate: Construction: Roadworks NQF 2
  • 3SAQA ID 24173 – National Certificate: Construction: Roadworks NQF 3
  • SAQA ID 49016 – National Certificate: Construction Concreting NQF 3
  • SAQA ID 49053 – National Certificate: Supervision of Construction Processes NQF 4
  • SAQA ID 77063 National Certificate: Construction Health and Safety NQF 3

As an Education and Training Quality Assurance (ETQA) body, the CETA must ensure quality by supervising skills development providers to facilitate the training process and perform its duties by following the National Skills Development Strategy (NSDS).

CETA Bursary

As part of the Construction Education and Training Authority’s (CETA) mission of positively influencing training and skills development in the construction industry, CETA awards the Thapelo Madibeng Bursary to undergraduates in the built profession sub-sector in the following fields of study:

University Studies

Architecture (B. Sc degree)

Civil Engineering (B. Sc degree)

Construction Management (B. Sc degree)

Geomatics (B. Sc degree)

Land Surveying (B. Sc degree)

Property Development (B. Sc degree)

Real Estate (B. Sc degree)

Urban and Regional Planning (B. Sc degree)

University of Technology studies

Architecture (National Diploma)

Construction (National Diploma)

Building (National Diploma)

Quantity Surveying (National Diploma)

Town and Regional Planning (National Diploma)

Land and Property Development (National Diploma)

Geomatics (National Diploma)

Civil Engineering (National Diploma)

Electrical Engineering (National Diploma)

TVET College studies:

Civil Engineering and Building (National Vocational Certificate Level 2 – 4)

Electrical Infrastructure Construction (National Vocational Certificate Level 2 – 4)

Electrical Engineering (NATED N1 – N6)

Civil Engineering (NATED N1 – N6)

The aim of the bursary is to cover the cost of tuition fees, recommended textbooks, stationery, meals, and accommodation in residence – with a maximum cap of 80 000 rands yearly. To be eligible to apply for the bursary, applicants must satisfy certain entry criteria, failure of which will lead to applications not being considered. Applicants must:

· Be a citizen of South Africa

· Less than 35 years of age

· Have achieved at least an overall average of 60% in Matric

· Have achieved a minimum of level 5 for Mathematics in Matric

· Have achieved a minimum of level 5 for Physical Science in Matric

· Be studying full-time within one of the previously mentioned fields of study (either undergraduate or postgraduate)

· Be studying at a registered and recognised public tertiary institution in South Africa (University/ University of Technology)

· Have passed the current year of study and have not failed more than 2 subjects

· NOT be currently receiving funding from a CETA funded entity

· NOT be an immediate family member of a CETA employee

· Have Household income is NOT more than R350 000 per annum

· Preference will be granted to students from designated groups

Applications can be made online at http://www.ceta.org.za/thapelo-madibeng-bursary-application-form/ or by downloading and completing the CETA Thapelo Madibeng Bursary Application Form.

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