Challenges faced by women enrolled on learnerships

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Challenges faced by women enrolled on learnerships

A learnership is a structured 12-month learning programme where employed (18.1) or unemployed (18.2) learners enrol for a national qualification.  They attend training offered by an accredited SETA provider and work at a host employer to gain experience and skills for the full duration of the programme.  They are formatively and summatively assessed by the provider throughout the process.

We have interviewed a number of unemployed females who are currently enrolled on a NQF level 4 Further Education and Training Certificate:  Generic Management qualification to find out what their current realities are:

  1. Finding a host employer

Finding a suitable host employer was a great challenge for many of the learners.  Finding an employer where there is scope for future employment is important.  They knocked on many doors to offer their services.  After many brainstorming sessions and discussions our learners decided to actively implement servant learnership and are now working as volunteers in orphanages, clinics and non-profit organisations in their communities.


  1. Lack of support or acceptance by colleagues

A very dynamic learner who is super excited about implementing everything that she has been taught shared her frustration with her fellow learners in class this week.  She is recommending change and taking initiative but the people who she is working with in her department is not giving her the support or recognition for her achievements.  This is demotivating for her.


  1. Limited or no exposure to applying the newly learnt skills in the workplace

The learners have to implement the skills, knowledge and behaviours by doing a number of workplace assignments.  This has become a trial for many learners because they are generally tasked with administrative duties.  One of the assignments requires them to conduct a meeting with their team to discuss and agree how what they do are aligned with and support the company’s vision, mission and values.  The collective then has to develop a Code of Value-Adding behaviour with SMARTER goals that are measurable.  The learners struggled to access this information and improvised by educating the team about the importance of goal alignment before continuing with the task.


These challenges are overcome when the stakeholders work together closely from the beginning and share common values.  The importance values are:

Respect – Unemployed and disabled learners are more fearful of making mistakes or being rejected in the workplace and its therefore so necessary to set them up for success by creating an enabling environment where they feel valued and appreciated.  Give them meaningful tasks, provide guidance and thank them for the value contribution.


Truth – The host employer must be well informed and be familiar with the requirements of the qualification as its imperative that the learner gets the opportunity to apply the newly learnt skills, knowledge and behaviour in the workplace.  When learners are not performing to the required standards give them constructive feedback and support so that they can deliver.  Be soft on the person and hard on the task.

Care – Learners who have access to a passionate mentor or coach flourish and develop into confident individuals who in turn care for your customers.  Acceptance by colleagues and inclusion go a long way.  Use the opportunity to build or nation by developing our learners so that they are employable or become self-employed.  A wise person once said ‘don’t just be make a difference’.

HEART Solutions specialising in:


SETA Accredited Learnerships and Skills Programmes

Human Resources Consulting

Provider Accreditation / Skills Development / Employment Equity / Chairing of Inquiries & CCMA representation  / Development of policies & procedures / Recruitment / Career Coaching