What is Seta?

SETA, which stands for Sector Education and Training Authority, is a South African body in charge of overseeing skills development and training within a particular industry sector. This body is an initiative of the National Skills Development Strategy (NSDS), and different SETAs were put in place for different industry sectors according to the Skills Development Act 97 of 1998. 

The development of work-related skills through vocational training is an essential advantage for any youth today. Skills development broadens their opportunities and empowers them as individuals. Besides the primary skill that students acquire, it enables individuals to enhance their networking, time management, and communication skills. Training skills also contribute to economic growth and development.

Millions of youths throughout South Africa are looking to learn new skills and sharpen already existing ones. SETAs enable these youth who require further training or additional skills by providing a platform for them to develop their skills. Trade Unions, government departments, employers, and bargaining councils (where applicable) constitute a SETA in each industrial sector. There are currently 21 SETAs that cater to each economic sector, and these SETAs were responsible for the private and public sectors.

The creation of SETA aimed to encourage adequate and meticulous planning of sector skills within a defined framework of the NSDS. There were originally 23 SETAs established in 2000 by the Minister of Labor at the time, each SETA with sectors and sub-sectors.

The SETAs are also responsible for disbursing training levies payable by all employers across the country. They are accredited by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) as an Education and Training Quality Assurance (ETQA) body. 

Before establishing SETA, there were thirty-three previously existing industry training boards that performed similar functions as SETA. However, SETAs are concerned with learnerships, internships, unit-based skills training, and apprenticeships, while former training boards were particular about apprenticeships. The previous training boards did not cover all industrial sectors while the twenty-one SETAs can do this.

With the funds accrued from skills levies from the employers collected by SETA, the body can fund the education and training programs and provides grants and bursaries to those enrolled. The SETAs undergo a period of recertification to enable them to be functioning optimally in their full capacities. 

The direction of the National Skills Authority (NSA), Mr. Thabo Mashongoane, was instrumental in the establishment and supervision of the SETAs. His department assumed full responsibility for skills development in 2009. The Department of Labour previously controlled skills development. A year after, he announced that he would implement a refined SETA structure from 2011 to 2016. He also facilitated the reduction of the SETAs at the time from 23 to 21 because of redundant and non-performing SETAs. He took legislative steps to ensure effective management and governance of the SETAs.

Each year, thousands of high school and college graduates set out to seek jobs, but many soon realize that their search is fruitless may not yield something substantial. The available jobs to job seekers ratio are significantly low, highlighting the SETA programs’ significant importance. People who want to run thriving small-scale businesses, persons with disabilities, and those who need to upgrade their current skills are some of the significant beneficiaries of SETAs. 

In a country where over 4 million people are currently unemployed, vocational skills are in high demand. They are one of the pathways to financial stability, employment, and better opportunities for the youth.

Seta accredited


There are many reasons behind SETA’s establishment, but SETA’s main purpose is to develop and enhance skills within its sector. It is also aimed at identifying skills development needs and ensuring national standards, which refer to the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). To achieve these objectives, a SETA will be responsible for developing and implementing sector skills plans. To achieve these, a SETA will also oversee education and training within its sector.

After accreditation of a SETA by SAQA as an ETQA, it evaluates and accredits training providers within its sector. Furthermore, SETAs also administer accrued funds collected in the form of Skills Development Levy and facilitate the creation of learnerships within the concerned sector.

A SETA also functions to conduct quality assurance tests to ensure that applicable standards are being maintained and that learners and members of the workforce have the necessary skills required by employers in the industry sectors.

Under the Skills Development Act, 1998, the roles and responsibilities of SETA include the following:

Development and Implementation of Sector Skills Plan

The sector skills plan refers to current trends in the sectors, high demand skills, and the precedence for skill development. The SETA is tasked with developing such plans that should be implemented in various sectors. A sector-specific skill plan is also important to oversee the functions of the body itself.

Development and Conducting of Learnerships;

In addition to Developing sector skill plans, learnerships, which are outcome-bared structured learning opportunities for gaining practical skills and theoretical knowledge, are also developed and administered by SETAs. It usually takes 18 months to commence and complete a learnership. People undergo four learnerships to obtain artisan equivalent qualification. 

Promoting the Implementation of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF)

NQFs, which have been vital components of the South Africa tertiary education system for almost 25 years, are supervised and implemented by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA). This comprehensive higher education system has been authorized to register quality-assured national qualifications and part- qualifications. The framework’s major objectives are tied to facilitating high-quality education and training and contributing positively to the learner’s overall development.

Handling of Quality Assurance based on the provisions of the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO)

The major objective of the QCTO is to effectively manage the Occupational Qualifications Sub-Framework (OQSF) to set appropriate standards for national occupational qualifications for those who want a trade or occupation and for professions. They are also involved in developing these occupational qualifications and quality assurance.

The QCTO is one of the Quality Councils (QCs) responsible for a part of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). These Quality Councils and the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) work for learners and employers’ benefits. 

The four stipulated QCTO requirements include:

  • Track provision to ensure that programs are being followed;
  • Accredit education and training providers;
  • Register Assessors;
  • Work with other Education and Training Quality Assurers (ETQA);

Expending levies collected from employers in their sector

SETA disburses skills development levies that are collected from employers. Employers must pay 1% of their salaries to the South African Revenue Services (SARS) every month. 80% of monies paid is distributed to SETA and eventually allocated for grants and management costs. 

Reporting to the Minister

SETAs are set up by the Act of parliament and hence, discharge their duties in the public’s interest. As statutory bodies, they handle public funds. Therefore, they are required to report to the Director of the Department of Higher Education and Training on the efficient and meticulous use of these funds. The Public Finance Management Act also governs SETAs, and this Act requires that public bodies operate responsibly and economically. SETAs also report to the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) on how they fulfill their roles as an Educational Training and Quality Assurance (ETQA) body.


SETA training centers offer SETA accredited courses and qualifications to learners. After completing these courses, each participant will receive a Certificate of Attendance after the course. This Certificate will indicate competency in compliance with the SAQA and SETA standards.

Such institutions are SETA accredited training providers, which means they have met the particular SETA accreditation requirements. These centers are easy to find via internet resources or directly contacting the relevant SETA, after which you can request a list of training centers around you. Training providers usually state their accreditation status on their websites or in their course brochures to help incoming students make informed decisions. Interested candidates can also ask training centers for a copy of their accreditation certificate.

After completing courses in the training, there will be no examinations. However, an assignment package is given to students, and this is called a Portfolio of Evidence. Answers to the portfolio package questions will be supplied back to students within one month of course completion. A certificate of competency certifies the successful completion of the course. After the assessment, students deemed not competent are allowed to resubmit their Portfolio of Evidence. Registered constituent Assessors and registered competent Moderators are specialists who assess and moderate the Portfolio of Evidence, respectively. They are registered with the specific ETQA body.

All moderators and assessors have to be qualified and registered with different SETA. To become a qualified moderator or assessor, the candidate must initially be trained on unit standard 115753. The candidate must give a portfolio of evidence and be judged competent by the Education, Training, and Development Practices Sector Education and Training Authority (EDTP SETA) in the training course. This standard accessor unit is for those who assess people for their success in learning outcomes in terms of stated criteria using pre-formulated assessment instruments and capable of conducting assessment in their expertise fields. 

To register with the SETAs as an Assessor or Moderator, the following processes must be adhered to:

  1. Obtain a SETAs assessor or moderator registration form or visit www.trainyoucan.co.za/setasetqa.co.za for more information.
  2. For TRAINYOUCAN members, they could request further support by visiting www.trainyoucanforum.co.za
  3. Update your curriculum vitae (CV), also known as a personal portfolio, which should include personal detail, a comprehensive list of all your qualifications, and a comprehensive list of places you have worked, including duration and years of experience.
  4. Take along original copies of all your Certificate to validate the information on your curriculum vitae.
  5. Take along a list of all the unit standards or qualifications you request scope to indicate that you have 2 to 3 years of experience in each request. You can download this from the SAQA website on this link here http://regqs.saqa.org.za/ or download the SAQA Help document from http://trainyoucan.co.za/saqa.

There is no exact SETA cost involved in the registration process. Still, some agencies might request a fee to assist in compiling the paperwork as part of the administration procedure. Most learners do this themselves as the process is fairly simple to follow.


A learnership, an organized learning method for obtaining academic knowledge and practical skills in the workplace, is one of SETA’s opportunities. A learnership guarantees a qualification registered on the NQF. These structured learning processes are outcomes-based and not time-based, acknowledges the need for prior learning. The duration of learnerships varies but lasts for 18 months on average. To obtain an artisan equivalent qualification (NQF level 4), the trainee must complete four separate learnerships. This means that qualifications at NQF levels 1, 2, 3, and 4 must be attained.

Certain conditions for learners must be met before commencing a SETA learnership, and these include:

  • Learners may be new entrants or existing employees or;
  • Learners must meet entry requirements for the specific learnership they wish to enroll in as set by the qualification conditions on which the learnership process is based;
  • Learners must meet the selection criteria set by the organization taking on the learner.

There are also specific processes involving employers, training providers, and other learners to be followed, and these include;

  1. Employers are approved in their workplace and are expected to meet the pre-registration criteria.
  2. Training providers are accredited to provide particular learnerships by the ETQA.
  3. Qualified assessors are available. They may be either in-house assessors or contracted assessors.
  4. Companies advertise learnership opportunities through the media.
  5. Learners apply and are selected by the company recruitment process.
  6. A tripartite learnership agreement is signed among the employer, provider, and learner.
  7. A Short-term employment agreement is signed between the learner and the employer, assuming the learner is unemployed.
  8. The learning program and process is discussed and agreed to with the training provider.
  9. Employers fund the learnership through grants obtained from SETA.
  10. Employers and training providers deliver relevant learning and experience, working closely together to manage the training process.
  11. Learners are provided with support through mentoring and feedback.
  12. Learners are assessed by qualified assessors(formative and summative assessments)
  13. The Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority quality assuror is called to supervise the assessment. The provider must undertake internal supervision.
  14. A national qualification is given to the learner after the successful completion of the learnership.
  15. Learners get a record of their results for unit standards achieved if learnership is not concluded.

Once the learnership is concluded, the employer can decide to approve the learner for a new learnership, employ the learner or release the learner for future employment by another organization if he/she was originally unemployed.

Learnership is an integrated learning program that combines practical workplace and theoretical learning experience if concluded successfully. It leads to a qualification enrolled on the NQF. Under the Skills Development Act, a learnership should include the following elements:

  • Practical work experience (on-the-job training)
  • A structured learning component (theoretical training)
  • It must relate to an occupation.
  • If concluded successfully, it must lead to a qualification. 

SETAs do not perform the learnerships themselves or administer learnerships directly but aid the implementation of learnerships and learners’ recruitment. SETAs also subsidize the provision of the theoretical training, and in some cases, also subsidize the learners’ allowances or stipends.


The South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) describes accreditation as the process through which a body, an institution, or a person has been approved as having the capacity to satisfy a particular responsibility in the quality assurance system organized by the South African Qualifications Authority.

A SETA can only be commissioned or accredited if the training provider fulfills the stringent application conditions prescribed by a relevant SETA. The relevant SETA in question decides whether a training provider has the required ability and capacity to offer quality training in line with the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) standards.

SETA accreditation is a very important process as it ensures that education and training are of the highest standards and quality. It is also carried out to guarantee relevance to the needs of the industry sector in question. A training provider will attain SETA accreditation if the training provider’s courses comply with the NQF standards.

Courses offered would have been evaluated to ensure that they are in line with these standards. Another objective of SETA accreditation is to verify that similar courses offered by different training providers are consistent. SETA accreditation also guarantees that training providers will be able to provide relevant training and education that is in line with national standards. Courses being offered by accredited training providers are also scrutinized to confirm their significance to industry needs and empower students with the skills they need in the workplace.

SETA accreditation is extremely beneficial for the students, as they can earn the suitable NQF credits after completing a SETA accredited course through a training provider with SETA accreditation. This is important because NQF credits count towards full qualifications that are recognized in the country. Therefore, a course or qualification can be formally recognized because of SETA accreditation. Some employers in particular sectors often request evidence of formal education from employees, and SETA accreditation makes this a possibility. Students can also change courses without having to repeat subjects they have previously completed, and this is possible because of formal recognition from SETA accreditation.

There are also benefits for training providers as 

SETA accreditation validates the reputation of the training provider and shows that the institution is credible. Furthermore, SETA accreditation guarantees that the training received will be useful and applicable in the workplace. It also ensures that students are equipped with skills that are in high demand by employers in different industry sectors. 

The general requirements for SETA accreditation include the following:

  • Training providers must register properly according to the appropriate legislation.
  • Training providers must have a Quality Management System (QMS) in place. The QMS refers to the combination of processes used to ensure that the degree of excellence specified is achieved. It involves policies that regulate how training providers ensure quality training. 
  • Training materials must be developed according to the standards of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF).
  • Training providers must have registered assessors and moderators that perform their roles according to the unit standards.

Besides the above-listed requirements, the different SETAs may have their accreditation requirements, and these can be found on their respective or obtained by directly contacting the particular SETA.

Training providers must comply with these requirements set at high standards to ensure quality education and training. Therefore, training providers need to be properly organized and must possess all required documents and policies. Accredited SETA training is in high demand, and this highlights the huge value placed on accreditation.


There are currently 21 SETAs, and these have been listed in alphabetical order below:

List of SETAs:

Agricultural Sector Education and Training Authority (AgriSETA)

Banking Sector Education and Training Authority (BANKSETA)

Chemical Industries Education and Training Authority (CHIETA)

Construction Education and Training Authority (CETA)

Culture, Arts, Tourism, Hospitality, and Sport Sector Education and Training Authority (CATHSSETA)

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

Energy and Water Sector Education and Training Authority (EWSETA)

Fibre Processing and Manufacturing Sector Education and Training Authority (FP&M SETA)     

Finance and Accounting Services Sector Education and Training Authority (Fasset)

Food and Beverage Manufacturing Industry Sector Education and Training Authority (FoodBev SETA)

Health and Welfare Sector Education and Training Authority (HWSETA)

Insurance Sector Education and Training Authority (Inseta) 

Local Government Sector Education and Training Authority (LGSETA)

Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority (merSETA)

Media, Information and Communication Technologies Sector Education and Training Authority (MICT SETA)

Mining Qualifications Authority (MQA)

Public Service Sector Education and Training Authority (PSETA)

Safety and Security Sector Education and Training Authority (SASSETA)

Services Sector Education and Training Authority (SSETA)            

Transport Education Training Authority (TETA)

Wholesale and Retail Sector Education and Training Authority

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