‘Closing the gap’: Dekra IOL assists Skills Development providers to move from legacy to occupational-based qualifications

The Dekra Institute of Learning (IOL) is passionate about facilitating adult education to help close the skills and employment gap in South Africa. Dekra IOL’s Head of Training, Christopher Mörsner, says the imminent move away from Sector Education Training Authority (SETA)-based unit standards will assist adult learners with access to more affordable, quality occupational-based training going forward.

Mörsner explains: “Changes are taking place in the local adult education sector, as the industry is moving from ‘legacy’ unit standards that are run by the 21 local SETAs to standards that are run by the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO).

“Some adult education Skills Development providers are having difficulty moving over from these SETA-based unit standards and legacy qualifications to the QCTO environment. Dekra IOL is able to assist Skills Development providers by running workshops that will explain and clarify the benefits of these pending changes, and how to navigate the way forward.”

Dekra IOL is a safety and training company that consults and advises on occupational health and safety-related matters to companies in South Africa and throughout the continent. Dekra Industrial – of which Dekra IOL is a division – is QCTO-accredited and delivers online learning across all industries, in both public and private sectors, with training pitched to all levels of competency, focusing on HSE (Health Safety and Environment), ISO (International Standards Organisation) and CPD (Continuing Professional Development)-aligned courses. Classroom-based and distance learning options are also available.

Mörsner adds: “We are very pleased to be working with training consultant Lynel Farrell, who has joined forces with the Dekra IOL team to assist with the changeover to the QCTO environment – and with the workshops that we will be presenting. Her wide-ranging experience includes working across multiple areas including within the training provider and corporate training spaces; as well as in the SETAs and the QCTO.”

‘Closing the gap’: from SETA to QCTO

Farrell comments: “I am passionate about quality assurance in education, training and development, and my aim is to ‘close the gap’ between new or existing Skills Development providers and the QCTO. I have found during my extensive experience that there is always the ‘missing middle’ where the Skills Development Providers do not completely understand the requirements of the QCTO. Together with Dekra IOL, our aim is to fill in the gaps, ensuring that Skills Development providers completely understand the requirements and compliance aspects for the provision of quality occupation-related training in South Africa going forward.”

She notes that over the past 10 years, she has seen adult education Skills Development Providers experiencing real difficulty in moving from the SETA landscape to the QCTO environment.

Farrell clarifies: “For example, within the SETA landscape, learners are able to combine modules in order to achieve their final legacy qualification. This has played a role in creating a situation in which there can be substantial differences in the same legacy qualification in various regions of the country – legacy qualifications are not standardised. Under the new rules within the QCTO environment, this will not happen – all recorded modules within the occupational qualification  are compulsory, in order to register and write the External Integrated Summative Assessment (national examination) at an approved assessment centre.

“The learner will have to complete all the modules – including knowledge, practical and workplace experience modules – in order to achieve the final occupational qualification in its entirety. This leads to standardisation and equivalency within an occupational-based qualification.”

Dekra IOL leads the way

Dekra IOL is already certified with the QCTO for a number of occupational qualifications, including the following:

  • Occupational Health and Safety Practitioner;
  • Training and Development Practitioner;
  • Compliance Officer;
  • Organisational Risk Manager; and
  • Organisational Risk Practitioner.

In addition, Dekra IOL are accredited for occupational skills programmes such as:

  • Assessment Practitioner;
  • Work-based Learning and Development Practitioner;
  • Community Development Facilitator.

Farrell adds: “I am very pleased to be working closely with Dekra IOL on this workshop initiative to clarify the changeover from legacy unit standards to the QCTO environment for our Skills Development providers. The changes will assist learners and Skills Development providers alike. Dekra IOL believes it is crucial to  facilitate quality education with subject matter experts (SMEs), according to the guidelines specified by the QCTO.”

Chasing a deadline

Farrell clarifies that there is a phasing-out period during which Skills Development providers must change over from the legacy SETA-based units and legacy qualifications to the QCTO occupational qualifications and skills programmes. “If they do not do this timeously, they will no longer be able to enrol learners after a certain date, and this is of course a business risk,” she notes.

Mörsner confirms: “As the legacy curriculum format involving unit standards run by the SETAs changes to new occupational standards under the QCTO, Dekra IOL is proud to play our part in facilitating understanding and best practices of the new order. We look forward to promoting the new learning and training framework, compliance criteria and best practices; and to playing our role in empowering both training service providers and learners alike.

“It is the vision of Dekra IOL to bring affordable, quality education to adults who have not been exposed to such opportunities previously; and in so doing, we set out to help them in furthering their skills and therefore their careers. Today, employers are looking for employees with real occupational-based skills. It is important for the adult learners to be able to implement their learning into their daily work. In this way, we aim to play a strategic role in closing the skills – and employment – gap in South Africa, thereby benefitting the economy as a whole,” he concludes.