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Transitioning Seamlessly from SETA to QCTO: A quick guide for Organizations

In South Africa's dynamic skills development arena, the shift from Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) to the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) marks a crucial turning point. As this transition deadline draws near, it's vital for employers and organizations to grasp its implications fully to ensure smooth compliance and ongoing success in their skills development endeavors.


Understanding the QCTO:

Established in 2010 under the Skills Development Act Nr. 97 of 1998, the QCTO holds a pivotal role in overseeing occupational qualifications' design, implementation, assessment, and certification across diverse sectors. While SETAs remain valuable collaborators, the QCTO's emergence doesn't replace the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), which retains its oversight over the National Qualifications Framework (NQF).The QCTO delivers occupational trades qualifications that provide individuals an added advantage in the workplace through the practical work experience.


What is the timeline?

As SETA qualifications approach expiration, organizations must meticulously adhere to the transition timeline. The last enrollment date for SETA qualifications is June 30, 2024, followed by a phased-out period until June 30, 2027. This necessitates developing new materials and adhering to QCTO accreditation standards, signaling a shift away from SETA-centric approaches.


What should employers consider?

Employers are urged to integrate this change into their Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) strategies, aligning occupational qualifications as category D for compliance and inclusivity. SETAS's do not fall away, therefore the grant funding windows still remain open. Organisations may still apply for funding when SETA's open their windows for grants.

Adherence to QCTO guidelines and providing competent workplace mentors are essential for effective skills development within organizations. All qualifications offered by providers that are accredited with the QCTO will now offer Learnerships and Skills Programmes and no longer Short Accredited Courses as previously done by the SETA's.

It is important to note that Short Courses may still be run with Accredited Providers, like Sivuka Youth and organisations still gain the Skills Development Levy (SDL) benefit, however the focus of capability and skill development is toward longer, credit bearing certificates that create meaningful pathways for those from disadvantaged backgrounds or people living with disabilities. The Qualifications are based on theory and importantly practical components. There will still be assessment and moderations completed as before with the SETA's.


As South Africa embarks on this journey, embracing change with resilience and adaptability is key. By understanding the QCTO transition's nuances, providers and organizations can work together to navigate challenges effectively while seizing growth opportunities for skills and capabilities within their organisations thereby uplifting the level of education of South Africa. Fostering a culture of continuous learning and development lays the foundation for a robust, inclusive workforce, propelling sustainable progress.


For more information, visit the QCTO website at

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