The 101 of Apprenticeships and Learnerships

2. Learnerships

Includes on-the-job training under the supervision of a skilled professional.

Requirements
The requirements for a learnership will vary depending on the organisation offering it. The basic requirement is a matric certificate. Some may require proof of a skill, like welding, while others will teach you all of the skills you need during the learnership.
The government makes use of SA Learnerships to advertise government learnerships and those affiliated to them.
3. Apprenticeships

Form of on-the-job training. This means that you’re learning the practical aspects of a job under the supervisions of a skilled professional while learning the theory in a classroom environment.

An apprenticeship is generally over a course of 3-4 years and you get paid while doing it.

This generally doesn’t lead to a NQF qualification, but the experience and skill acquired as well as a reference letter from the company, will ensure job opportunities in the future.
4. Internships
As Rhoda informed me, you get two types of internships. Both forms can be paid or unpaid.

Undergraduate Internship

This is for students who are enrolled at a university and require experience at a company during their holidays.

Graduate Internship

This is for students who have graduated.
Which is Best For Me?

 
 
 
So now that you know the differences between the three, we’re going to focus on the advantages and disadvantages of apprenticeships and learnerships, since you don’t need to attend university to acquire either of them.

Apprenticeships

      Learnerships

Advantages                                                                                                                      Advantages

Theoretical knowledge while gaining practical experience
Exposure to the reality of the job
Good job opportunities upon completion
Some apprenticeship programmes can take less time than studying
You can continue your studies after the completion of the apprenticeships
Earn a salary while working

Theoretical knowledge while gaining practical experience
Leads to a registered qualification by the NQF
Incentives and grants are offered to students
Leads to you being a competent, independent employee with the necessary problem-solving skills
Company provides the means to stay motivated
Learnerships are common in SA
Don’t need to pay for studies

Disadvantages                                                                                                                    Disadvantages

Career opportunities can be restricted as career is specialized
Will earn less in the long term
Due to work load it will be difficult to focus on personal avenues during apprenticeship

Some companies may require applicants to have a degree
Specialised in one field only and that may restrict job opportunities.

One of the main differences between the two is that at the end of a learnership you have a NQF accredited qualification. This can be advantageous, especially if you want to move overseas.
However, both are great options. Whether you didn’t perform well in school or you don’t know what you want to do with your future. These routes will give you knowledge and experience in a specific field. You can use that to further your career by going the academic route (studying towards a degree) or to decide whether you could continue doing it in your future.
Where Do I Find Learnerships and Apprenticeships?  
The good news is that companies all over South Africa offer both learnerships and apprenticeships. The aim of these are to shorten the gap in skill shortages in South Africa, to lower the rates of employment, offer more educational options for post-matriculants and to equal the opportunities between gender and race.
Here are some websites to check out with listings of either:

Take a look at the government’s youth service guide. They provide a comprehensive breakdown of post-matric options funded by the government.

To find more learnerships, Rhoda recommends doing a quick web search. You will find learnerships and apprenticeships directly from companies or on portals, either way, it will be well explained as to how you should apply.
To Apply or Not to Apply…
What you decide to do with your future is ultimately up to you. It will never hurt to apply and gather all of your options. It helps to have more than one pathway, since your mind might change or Plan A might fall through. That being said, a learnership or apprenticeship doesn’t need to be Plan B or C. It can be Plan A. Especially if you know what you want to do with your future. Explore the different learnerships and apprenticeships to find one that interests you.

“I personally think learnerships are an excellent way for the youth and really any person to gain good work experience and learning from particular sectors, as the learning will help steer them towards whether this is an area they would like to continue working in. It also builds up their confidence and self-esteem.” 

– Rhoda Farrant
GistPing.com South Africa
There is absolutely nothing wrong with not pursuing a degree straight out of school, or ever. Some people simply aren’t academics. There are many reasons why a person might not be able to obtain a degree. That’s okay. Learnerships and apprenticeships are great alternatives and shouldn’t be overlooked. It might just be your key to the future you’ve been dreaming about.

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