Wholesale and Retail Sector Education and Training Authority
The Wholesale and Retail Sector Education and Training Authority (W&RSETA) is an acknowledged leader in terms of the SETAs that currently operate in South Africa. They have had considerable success implementing the National Skills Development Strategy and have proudly embraced their role to foster the development of relevant skills within the rather vast wholesale and retail sector and its numerous sub-sectors.
In November 2009, the Government announced that SETAs would not be recertified in March 2010 as originally planned, but that the entire SETA landscape would be redefined. While the W&RSETA will remain intact when the new landscape comes into play in March 2011, it will have the motor and petrol retail sub-sectors transferred to it from the Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services SETA, MerSETA.
Original structure of the W&RSETA
Like all the original SETAs in South Africa, the W&RSETA was established in terms of the Skills Development Act of 1998, and became operative in March 2000.
Those in this vital industry recognised the need to set up a board to run the SETA and after consulting with employers and employees, and advertising in national newspapers, duly set up its board comprising six employee representatives, and six employer representatives.
Unlike the transport sector’s education and training authority, TETA, which was structured from various industry training boards that were already operating within the realm of education and training, and ensuring learners and employees had the correct skills for the job, the W&RSETA had to evolve its own model from scratch.
The W&RSETA outsourced this function and a detailed business plan was drawn up to outline the model. This was ratified by the then Minister of Labour. A Finance Committee, and Governance and Representative Committee were then established specifically to ensure compliance with the Skills Development Act and equally important Skills Development Levies Act.
Cognizant of the needs to meet the demands of the W&R sector, the SETA also set up working committees comprising employer and employee representatives to deal with all the core areas within the sector.
Every year since 2000, the W&RSETA has submitted an updated Sector Skills Plan to the Department of Labour for approval.
Accreditation of the W&RSETA
In May 2001 the W&RSETA ETQA (education and training qualifications authority) was accredited by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) to facilitate their role of ensuring quality learning provision within the wholesale and retail sector.
This, of course involves ensuring that relevant accredited college courses are available for both learners starting out, and those wanting to further themselves in the sector. For this reason the SETA might accredit a short course alongside a management course or even online courses to ensure that all needs are catered for.
The SETA is also responsible for ensuring that those in training have access to discretionary grants, bursaries, internships and apprenticeships. They also need to assist make the workplace experience a knowledgeable and meaningful one.
Learnerships and the W&RSETA
Learnerships are work-based education and training programmes that are linked to qualifications that are registered with the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). These learnerships consist of both theory and practical workplace experience.
Learnerships provide learners with easy access to learning as well as better employment opportunities. Some learners are able to earn while they learn – for example in apprenticeships – and at the same time acquire a formal qualification.
Learnerships give employers a better opportunity to access skilled and experienced workers who need less supervision. This in turn improves productivity and the quality of work delivered.
Learnerships for the industry as a whole, aim to make the W&R sector more competitive in the global market.
While the W&RSETA facilitates the recruitment and implementation of learnerships, the SETA is quick to remind employers, service providers and training providers that it is their responsibility to recruit learners.
Nevertheless, from the start, the W&RSETA has partnered with the Department of Labour as well as the South African Graduates Association (SAGA) and the Centre for Youth Development (CYD) in an endeavour to give unemployed people and those sincerely looking for opportunities jobs and training. These are people who are recruited and given the opportunity of workplace experience, apprenticeships and so on.
Where to find the W&RSETA
The W&RSETA offices are based in Centurion, Pretoria in Gauteng Province.
Telephone: 0860 270 027 / (012) 676-9000
Fax: (012) 665-2559
Until the motor and retail sub-sectors transfer to the W&RSETA, they fall under the MerSETA which is based in central Johannesburg, Gauteng.
Telephone: (011) 544-1316
Fax: (011) 484-8620