PIVOTAL Training

What is PIVOTAL training?

Every industry has a different approach to skills development and training. In 1998, the Skills Development Act was developed to encourage businesses to create an active learning environment for their employees.

PIVOTAL is an abbreviation for Professional, Vocational, Technical and Academic Learning. It refers to learning programs that lead to occupational qualifications or part-qualifications. 

Pivotal training is part of a natural environment of teaching strategies. It is an evidence-based practice where teaching and ongoing learning takes place in an individual’s natural setting and environment. It means, therefore, that the teaching can occur anywhere. It also focuses on essential skills that will likely have a cascading effect in terms of learning and improving further skills in the future.

PIVOTAL training gets its mandate from the NSDP (National Skills Development Plan), the intention of which was to: 

  • Improve the skills base of South Africa’s workforce;
  • Improve overall productivity in the workplace
  • Increase the likelihood of individuals finding work and create possibilities for self-employment;
  • Increase the amount of investment in education and training in the workplace and improve the return on that investment; 
  • Encourage employers to provide opportunities for employees within their first jobs and to provide an opportunity for them to use the workplace as a learning environment; 
  • Encourage continuous learning and development through learnerships and training programs that are being offered;
  • Improve the employment likelihood of previously disadvantaged individuals to be employed; 
  • Ensure the standard of quality of education and training in and for the workplace. 

It is worth noting that according to the NDS-III, although the word PIVOTAL was clearly intended to imply focus on the job market, and therefore occupation, the word ‘occupation’ does not feature. 

PIVOTAL could therefore be defined as almost any programme that leads to a person gaining a qualification that has value in the labour market. Perhaps that was the intention, but it was not explicit.

What is a PIVOTAL training programme?

The Skills Development Act of 1998 prescribes key legislation for skills development programs in the workplace. The Skills Development Act enables and makes provision for the payment of a skills development levy by the employer. 

The SETAs (Sector Education and Training Authorities), in turn, were implemented to monitor the skills development and training within the workplace.

PIVOTAL training forms part of the skills development programs that can be offered through various channels.

A PIVOTAL training and development program includes professional, vocational, technical, and academic learning programs that will give the candidate or employee occupational qualifications or part qualifications on the NQF framework. A qualification can either be a certificate, diploma, a higher diploma, or a degree. Part qualifications are made up of various unit standards, if clustered together, can make up a specific skills program. One can also look at it as different separate modules from a full qualification.

These Pivotal Programs may include a knowledge or theory element that is either delivered at a (FET) Further Education and Training Centre/Institution or it can also be a programme that’s delivered by a university or part of learning with instructional methodologies in a training centre that is accredited by an official body or training with an approved employer.

According to the NSDS III and the new SETAs Grant Regulation, PIVOTAL programs refer to:

Professional learning programs are programs that lead to designations that are registered by professional bodies. During professional development, the aim is to learn in order to earn or maintain professional credentials, such as academic degrees. It can also include the attendance of conferences, informal learning opportunities in the workplace, participating in research, increased duties and responsibilities, to name a few.

Vocational learning programs refer to NATED and artisanal programs that lead to a trade and/or the National Certificate Vocational (NCV). A NATED (National, Accredited Technical Education Diploma) is an undergraduate qualification that is delivered with the support of the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) and the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). 

Technical learning programs are programs directed towards a specific job and registered by the SETA. These programs include apprenticeships, learnerships, and skills programs.

Academic learning programs are programs that allow a candidate to obtain an academic qualification such as certificates, Higher Certificates, Diplomas, and Degrees as per the NQF. 

The focus of these PIVOTAL learning programs is to concentrate on critical and scarce skills needs that have been identified in the workplace or industry.

These Programs can include:

  • Learnerships – these are workplace structured learning processes for obtaining theoretical knowledge and the practical skills needed for a qualification registered on the NQF.
  • Bursaries – monetary support.
  • Candidacy Programs – these are practical work experience placements where individuals receive structured mentoring and guidance under the supervision of a leader or more senior employee. It gives the employee an opportunity to gain experience and attain the competency that’s required for professional registration.
  • Skills Programs – these are job-specific programs aimed at building skills that create economic value and contain at least 1 Unit Standard of a part-qualification on the NQF framework.

Through which SETAs can Pivotal Training Programs be funded?

During NSDS III, the scarce skills list and the critical skills list became an important focus for skills development in the workplace. 

The PIVOTAL list was later developed (full and part qualification programs to address scarce and critical skills), which became an important instrument to focus resources. 

Any employer in an industry who submits its annual WSP (Work Skills Plan) and ATR PIVOTAL plan and PIVOTAL Training Reports is eligible for funding.

All SETAs are required to allocate 80% of their available discretionary grants to PIVOTAL training programs that specifically cater to scarce and critical skills in that sector. 

The SETA must specify in its APP an estimate of the discretionary funds that will be available for skills development and training through PIVOTAL programs. 

Here is a list of all the SETAs in South Africa. Please refer to this list and click on the appropriate link to find out more about each specific SETA.

Agricultural Sector Education Training Authority

BankSETA Banking Sector Education and Training Authority

CetaSETA Construction Education and Training Authority

ChietaSETA Chemical Industries Education and Training Authority

CATHS SETA Culture, Art, Tourism, Hospitality and Sport Sector Education and Training Authority

EWSETA Energy and Water Sector Education and Training Authority

ETDP SETA Education, Training and Development Practices Sector Education and Training Authority

FP&MSETA Fibre Processing & Manufacturing Sector Education and Training Authority

FASSET SETA Financial, Accounting, Management, Consulting, and other Financial Services Sector Education and Training Authority

HWSETA Health & Welfare Sector Education and Training Authority

InSETA Insurance Sector Education and Training Authority

LGSETA Local Government Sector Education and Training Authority

MerSETA Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority

MictSETA Media, Information and Communication Technologies Sector Education and Training Authority

MqaSETA Mining and Minerals Sector Education and Training Authority

PSETA Public Service Sector Education and Training Authority

SasSETA Safety and Security Sector Education and Training Authority

ServiceSETA Services Sector Education and Training Authority

TetaSETA Transport Education and Training Authority

W&RSETA Wholesale and Retail Sector Education and Training Authority

Difference between pivotal and non-pivotal training.

A PIVOTAL training and development program includes professional, vocational, technical, and academic learning programs that will give the candidate or employee occupational qualifications or part qualifications on the NQF framework. A qualification can either be a certificate, diploma, a higher diploma, or a degree. Part qualifications are made up of various unit standards, if clustered together, can make up a specific skills program. One can also look at it as different separate modules from a full qualification.

These Pivotal Programs may include a knowledge or theory element that is either delivered at a (FET) Further Education and Training Centre/Institution or it can also be a programme that’s delivered by a university or part of learning with instructional methodologies in a training centre that is accredited by an official body or training with an approved employer.

These training programs include apprenticeships, learnerships, credit-bearing skills programs, work integrated learning, bursary programs (post-school/tertiary qualifications at TVETs/HEI)

Non-pivotal programs are programs that do not lead to credit-bearing qualifications. However, they do address key objectives and priorities of the SETA and can include things like:

  • Soft-skills development 
  • Career guidance  
  • Industry conferences and industry research
  • Health and Safety
  • HIV/Aids Awareness

A non-pivotal programme qualifies for a maximum of 20% of the SETA’s discretionary grant, whereas a PIVOTAL program qualifies for a maximum of 80% of the SETA’s discretionary grant budget.

Pivotal training plan template

A PIVOTAL training plan must be submitted in conjunction with the Annual Training Reports (ATR) and Workplace Skills Plan (WSP). The WSP addresses the planned training for the year.

The ATR training plan reflects the actual education, training, and development activities in the organization that were implemented. The aim is to use it also as a progress report against the previous year’s ATR.

The PIVOTAL training plan is a strategic plan aligned to address scarce skills and is a snapshot of training that will take place in the upcoming financial year.

The PIVOTAL training plan includes:

  • Occupational group of the employer/company
  • Type of PIVOTAL Programs
  • The number of employees that are planned to be trained as well as employees who were recipients of the training.

Click here for a template example of such a PIVOTAL Training Report.

Pivotal programs

Pivotal programs can include:

Learnerships

Learnerships are learning programmes that take place in a working environment that allow an individual to obtain an NQF registered qualification. The learnership is directly related to a specific job or field of work, e.g., hairdressing, electrical engineering.

All learnerships are managed by the SETAs and were introduced to help learners to develop skills to prepare individuals for better employment or even self-employment opportunities.  

A learnership requires an individual to enter into a fixed-term employment contract with the company while they study towards the specific qualification as per the NQF. Once the individual has completed the learnership and obtained their qualification, the learnership will end.

Learnerships help individuals to get access to education and training while they work and get started in their careers.

All 21 SETAs do have NQF-aligned learnership programs that can assist an individual in getting the necessary recognized qualification while working in their job.

Apprenticeships

Apprenticeship programs are a combination of textbook theory, practical work, and workplace practice in a specific industry and can yield an artisan a certificate of competence. 

Apprenticeships are focused on developing job-specific skills. The apprenticeship program supports an apprentice to trade through practical skills and experience and can also give the individual an opportunity to qualify for further education and training opportunities.

Skills Programs

Skills programs are a part qualification. They are similar to apprenticeships and learnerships as skills programs are also a job-based learning program aimed at developing skills that can pay the bills and which incorporates at least 1 unit standard. They can lead to a qualification registered on the NQF.

WIL (Work Integrated Learning) for TVET and University Learners

Work integrated learning is a career-focused education that includes theory and is appropriate for technical/professional qualifications as well as problem-based learning (PBL) and project-based learning (PJBL). It, therefore, aligns the theory and practical workplace experience for the benefit of the student and the workplace.

WIL (Work-integrated learning) is based on the principle that learning/theory should be demonstrated to be appropriately qualified and should be assessed where it takes place.

Internships

Internships are for learners from Universities or Universities of Technology who have completed their professional qualification and need a period of workplace experience in their specific job. The work experience is structured and supervised by a suitably qualified individual, e.g., a medical doctor.

Internships give the graduate an opportunity to gain practical skills, specific experience in the workplace, and greater on-the-job knowledge of that industry, in exchange for the employer benefiting from labour. 

Bursaries/Monetary Support

The National Skills Fund (NSF) makes provision for bursaries for students with a study focus on a PIVOTAL program or scarce skills area. 

Scarce skills areas include:

Accounting 

Financial management 

Actuarial studies 

Auditing Business Management 

Economics 

Physics 

Computer science 

Chemistry 

Geology 

Information systems 

Mathematical sciences 

Agriculture Statistics 

Financial Accounting 

Bio-technology 

Engineering

Types of SETA grants.

In 1998, the levy-grant system legislation was introduced to encourage skills development in the workplace. 

All employers who have a wage bill larger than R500 000 per annum and are registered with SARS for PAYE are required to conform to the legislation. The levy is calculated at 1% of the full salary bill, which is payable monthly.

Levies are paid to the South African Revenue Services (SARS), which acts as a collecting agent for the relevant SETA. SARS then distributes the funds to the specific SETA, and these are broken down into the following distribution:

  • 20% of the fund goes to the National Skills Fund
  • 10.5% of the fund goes to SETA administration costs
  • 20% is funded towards mandatory grants and,
  • 49.5% is funded towards discretionary grants, which has mainly been used to fund PIVOTAL programs

SETAs pay is paid to employers based on the SETA Grant Regulations. 

The main grant conditions include:

· Employers that have 50 or more employees must submit an application for a WSP and an ATR, and

· that they must apply for a mandatory grant within 6 months of registration.

After receiving this grant, employers reinvest it to train their employees. The amount an employer qualifies for depends on the amount that they’ve contributed as a skills levy. 

Discretionary grants are awarded and paid at the discretion of the applicable SETA. The discretionary grants focus primarily on PIVOTAL learning programs.  

Mandatory Grants

The Mandatory grant encourages companies to provide their Skills Development data to their SETA based on their workforce and skills needs, which is reported in the annual WSP and ATRs.

The SETA must then use the Skills Development Levy to pay back 20% to companies and employers who successfully submitted their annual documents.

Discretionary Grants

Of the 49.5% Discretionary Grants, 80% is awarded for PIVOTAL programs at the discretion of the SETA, and 20% is awarded for NON-PIVOTAL programs at the discretion of the SETA.

Employers and companies need to apply for this funding through their relevant SETA procedure, but it provides an opportunity for employers to receive incentives for investing in scarce skills in the workplace.

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