This section deals with programmes that include a formal work-integrated learning component. In particular, it describes programmes leading to Occupational Certificates. These qualifications have a strong occupational focus, with work-based learning as a central pillar.
Below is more information on Occupational Certificates, the Organising Framework for Occupations (OFO) and the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO).
Occupational Certificates are unique in that they consist of three types of modules that specify the knowledge, practical skills and work experience, which are the building blocks of occupational competence (i.e. the ability to perform competently in a work situation). Learners have to be assessed as competent in all three areas, followed by an external integrated summative assessment to be awarded an Occupational Certificate. This means that part of the qualification must be completed in a workplace where an employer is willing to provide learners with the opportunity to complete the compulsory work experience component.
Each Occupational Certificate is developed for a specific occupation or trade listed on the Organising Framework for Occupations (OFO), which is the system used for classifying occupations in South Africa. Occupational Certificates are registered on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) alongside all other types of qualifications offered by universities, universities of technology, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges and private training institutions.
The Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) is responsible for overseeing the design, implementation, assessment and certification of qualifications for occupations and trades.
What is the structure of an Occupational Certificate?
Occupational Certificates are qualifications that are registered on the NQF. They differ from other qualifications in that they consist of Knowledge Modules, Practical Skill Modules and Work Experience Modules. These are described above under the heading: What is the structure of an Occupational Certificate?
Example of the Occupational Certificate for Chefs
The Occupational Certificate for Chefs (ID number 94941) is used as an example to explain the structure of these qualifications. The qualification is made up of Knowledge Modules (for a total of 95 credits), Practical Skill Modules (120 credits) and Work Experience Modules (165 credits). Each module has an NQF Level, number of credits and a unique number, e.g. 343401000-KM-01.
The purpose of this qualification is to prepare a learner to operate as a Chef that is able to:
- Undertake planning and preparation activities for the provision of chef services;
- Organise the food production area, commodities, staff and the environment for the execution of chef services; and
- Execute the preparation, cooking and finishing of a variety of dishes using the correct method and techniques to meet customer and organisational requirements.
Examples of the compulsory Knowledge Modules in this qualification are:
- Personal hygiene and safety;
- Introduction to nutrition and diets;
- Healthier food preparation and cooking;
- Theory of food production;
- Menu planning and recipe costing; and
- Food preparation methods and techniques.
Examples of the compulsory Practical Skill Modules in this qualification are:
- Prepare, cook and finish dishes using different methods and techniques, equipment and utensils;
- Plan menus and cost recipes/dishes; and
- Manage and maintain staff, facility, equipment and commodity resources.
The four compulsory Work Experience Modules require learners to apply the knowledge and skills they developed in the previous two modules in a hotel, restaurant or other catering establishment through the following:
- Planning and preparation of processes and procedures to provide professional chef services within the hierarchy of the organisational structure;
- The processes and procedures for organising the food production area, commodities, staff and the environment;
- The processes and procedures for preparing and cooking a variety of food items using different methods and techniques, equipment and utensils; and
- The processes and procedures for preparing, cooking and finishing a variety of dishes using the correct method and techniques to meet customer expectations.
Other examples of Occupational Certificates
The examples of Occupational Certificates in the table below indicate that each qualification is developed for a specific occupation, e.g. a Truck Driver or Tax Technician. The table shows Occupational Certificates that are registered on NQF Levels 2 to 7, with the ID number of the qualification and the minimum credits to be achieved for every qualification. (There were no qualifications on Levels 1 or above Level 7 when the text for this website was prepared.) The qualifications can be accessed on the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) website by clicking on the qualification ID number or inserting the qualification title in the table on: http://regqs.saqa.org.za/search.php?cat=qual.
||Occupational Certificate: Footwear Cutting Machine Operator
||Occupational Certificate: Footwear Closing Production Machine Operator
||Occupational Certificate: Truck Driver
||Occupational Certificate: Airline Ground Crew
||Occupational Certificate: Carpenter
||Occupational Certificate: Electrical Line Mechanic: Overhead Lines
||Occupational Certificate: Engineering Patternmaker
||Occupational Certificate: Fitter and Turner
||Occupational Certificate: Career Development Information Officer
||Occupational Certificate: Chemist (Surface Coatings Technologist)
||Occupational Certificate: Clearing and Forwarding Agent
||Occupational Certificate: Compliance Officer
||Occupational Certificate: Port Manager
||Occupational Certificate: Tax Technician
||Occupational Certificate: Purchasing Officer
||Occupational Certificate: Supply and Distribution Manager
||Occupational Certificate: Financial Markets Practitioner
||Occupational Certificate: Professional Principal Executive Officer
The Occupational Certificates above all specify at least 120 credits. (Note: Qualifications of around 120 to 150 credits can generally be completed within an academic year.) However, some learners may take longer than a year to achieve competence in all components of the qualification.
The table below indicates that occupational certificates with fewer than 120 credits are also registered on the NQF.
||Occupational Certificate: Nurseryperson (Nursery Supervisor)
||Occupational Certificate: Taxi Driver
||Occupational Certificate: Hot Water System Installer (Heat Pump Installer)
||Occupational Certificate: Hot Water System Installer (Solar Water Installer)
||Occupational Certificate: Office Administrator: Public Service Administrator
Which other occupation-directed programmes are available?
There are many other types of programmes designed specifically to prepare learners for occupations. This section provides information on occupation-directed programmes offered by universities, specialised institutions and TVET colleges.
Higher education programmes: Many higher education qualifications offered by universities and universities of technology are directed towards specific occupations. Examples are qualifications in Applied Psychology, Human Resource Management, Local Economic Development, Project Management, and School Management and Leadership. These are mainly academic programmes, although some do include practical application components.
Click here for the types of qualifications offered by universities.
Programmes offered by specialised institutions: There are many specialised institutions and universities that offer programmes for occupations in fields such as agriculture, nursing, policing and teaching.
Click here for information on institutions offering qualifications in agriculture, nursing, policing and teaching.
Programmes offered for government employees: Many government departments have colleges, academies or special units that train public servants. These include institutions under the Departments of Correctional Services, Defence, International Relations and others. Some provinces have dedicated training institutions such as the KZN Provincial Public Service Training Academy, the Matthew Goniwe School of Leadership and Governance (an agency of the Gauteng Department of Education), and the Public Administration, Leadership and Management Academy (PALAMA) for training public servants.
Programmes offered by TVET colleges: Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges also offer many vocational programmes that combine theory and practical training to prepare learners for work in a wide range of occupations, for example in Hospitality, Information Technology, Marketing, Office Administration or Tourism.
Click here for information on the qualifications and programmes offered by these colleges.
Learnerships and apprenticeships: These programmes are also categorised as occupation-directed programmes. They are described in the section of the website dealing with WORK-INTEGRATED OCCUPATIONAL PROGRAMMES.
What are part-qualifications?
A part-qualification is exactly what its name indicates: it is a part of a qualification. Therefore, a part-qualification always indicates the qualification that it forms part of.
The South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) describes a part-qualification as “an assessed unit of learning with a clearly defined purpose that is, or will be, registered as part of a qualification on the NQF”. SAQA currently recognises the following as part-qualifications: unit standards, the knowledge, practical skills and work experience modules of Occupational Certificates, and NATED programmes (National Accredited Technical Education Diploma, the ‘N-programmes’). Part-qualifications are registered on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) alongside all other types of qualifications offered by universities, TVET colleges and other training providers. (In the case of Occupational Certificates, part-qualifications include elements of all three components, i.e. knowledge, practical skills and work experience.)
What are unit standards and how are they used in learning programmes?
One type of qualification that is registered on the NQF is referred to as a ‘unit standards-based qualification’ because it is made up of a number of unit standards. Therefore, unit standards are part-qualifications in the sense that they are components of this type of qualification. Unit standards are registered separately on the NQF on the SAQA website under “Registered qualifications and unit standards”: http://regqs.saqa.org.za/. A unique title and identity number are allocated to each unit standard and it is registered on the NQF together with its NQF level and number of credits.
As an example, the table below lists some of the unit standards in the qualification, Further Education and Training Certificate: New Venture Creation (ID no. 66249, NQF Level 4, 140 credits) that is aimed at developing entrepreneurship skills.
|Further Education and Training Certificate: New Venture Creation unit standards
||Apply innovative thinking to the development of a small business
||Apply the principles of costing and pricing to a business venture
||Demonstrate an understanding of an entrepreneurial profile
||Finance a new venture
||Implement an action plan for a new venture
||Manage finances of a new venture
||Negotiate an agreement or deal in an authentic work situation
||Plan and manage production/operations in a new venture
||Plan strategically to improve new venture performance
||Produce business plans for a new venture
||Research the viability of new venture ideas/opportunities
How are unit standards used in learning programmes?
An accredited training provider will develop a learning programme that is aligned to one or more unit standards. The programme will cover all the specifications in the unit standards to ensure that learners who complete the programme have developed the understanding, knowledge and skills that are needed to achieve all the outcomes described in the unit standards. Training providers would then indicate which unit standards are covered in the programme. Learners who successfully complete the programme will receive a certificate from the provider listing the unit standards achieved. Furthermore, the name of the learner and the unit standard identity number will be recorded on the National Learners’ Records Database (NLRD) on the NQF.
For example, the unit standard, ‘Produce business plans for a new venture’ (ID no. 114592, NQF Level 4, 8 credits) from the New Venture Creation qualification mentioned above, states the following: “This Unit Standard has as its core purpose to equip learners with the necessary knowledge and skills to produce business, financial and/or operations plans for implementing a new venture. It will also address the economic and administrative issues that prevent the starting of a new venture and contribute to the inability of an entrepreneur to sustain a new venture.”
The training programme that is aligned to this unit standard will enable learners to develop competence in the following outcomes:
- Identify, gather and analyse the relevant information needed to compile a business plan;
- Formulate an ethical framework for the operational plans of a new venture;
- Establish and prioritise business, financial and/or operational goals and objectives for a new venture; and
- Design and present business, financial and/or marketing plans based on a budget for a new venture.
How are NATED programmes registered as part-qualifications?
What are skills programmes?
Skills programmes are occupationally-directed programmes that are based on unit standards that form part of a qualification. Credits obtained for completing a skills programme will therefore constitute credits towards a qualification. Skills programmes are not part-qualifications and are not registered on the NQF, but the unit standards and the qualification they relate to are registered.
Some skills programmes cover only one unit standard. For example, the unit standard ‘Produce business plans for a new venture’ (ID no. 114592) described above (under How are unit standards used in learning programmes?) could be offered as a skills programme on its own. Other skills programmes cover a cluster of unit standards that together develop competence in a specific job function or work process. The example of Occupational Health and Safety below also indicates the hours of learning in the workplace and at the training provider.
|| Unit Standard Title
||Hours in workplace
||Hours at training
||Explain basic health and safety principles in and around the workplace
||Conduct continuous hazard identification and risk assessment within a workplace
||Describe the functions of the workplace health and safety representative
The following are other features of skills programmes:
Training providers that offer skills programmes must be accredited for the unit standards that are covered in the programmes.
Training providers should assist learners to receive a certificate for completion of the unit standards, which must specify the unit standards and credits achieved.
The duration of skills programmes is determined by the number of unit standards covered in the programme and the total number of credits for the unit standards. Therefore, they can vary from a few days to a few months.
Skills programmes should address identified skills needs in the labour market. They should assist learners to improve employability or productivity, or perform certain meaningful functions within the workplace. However, they could also be focused on developing entrepreneurial skills for entrepreneurs to establish and manage their own businesses, for example by covering unit standards on entrepreneurship in the Further Education and Training Certificate: New Venture Creation mentioned above.
Skills programmes always cover knowledge and theory, and some skills programmes include a practical workplace learning component, as in the example above of Occupational Health and Safety.
Some SETAs register skills programmes internally, but this does not constitute registration on the NQF.
How can I check if a training provider is offering a part-qualification?
Training providers that offer part-qualifications must be accredited to offer the modules, unit standards or programmes that are registered on the NQF as part-qualifications. Therefore, they should provide the ID number and title of the part-qualification as it is registered on the NQF. The provider should also provide the accreditation number and name of the institution that accredited it to offer the part-qualification. Learners will be able to use these details to check the registration of the part-qualification and the accreditation of the provider for the specific part-qualification.
What will learners achieve after completing a part-qualification?
Learners who successfully complete a part-qualification will receive a certificate indicating the part-qualification achieved, and the credits they were awarded will be recorded on the National Learners’ Records Database (NLRD) on the NQF. The training provider should follow the prescribed procedures for ensuring that the learners receive their certificates and that the achievements are forwarded to the relevant institutions for recording on the National Learners’ Records Database (NLRD) on the NQF. The certificate could be issued by the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO), Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) or the training provider.