Skills development

What is the Skills development levy (SDL)?

The SDL is a monthly levy, equivalent to 1% of a company’s payroll. It is mandatory for all companies that have an annual wage bill of R500 000 or more.

Does my organisation have to pay the SDL?

Yes, unless:

  • It is a non-profit organisation – you can apply for an exemption from SDL payments;
  • It is a government department – you only pay 0,1% of your payroll as a contribution to the Seta running costs. You can still participate in all Seta processes, but you simply don’t claim money like other organisations;
  • Your payroll is less than R500 000 a year.
Why should the SDL be paid?

The aim of the Skills Development Act is to improve of the skills of the South African workforce so that the economy can grow and all South Africans can live a better life. At Thrive we believe the SDL focuses attention on investing in staff training and whether this improves aspects such as productivity, transformation and retention.

How is the SDL spent?
  • 20% is claimable in a mandatory grant claim;
  • 50% is claimable through the discretionary grant applications – 40% for PIVOTAL programmes;
  • 20% goes to the Department of Labour’s National Skills Fund for large public skills development projects;
  • 10% goes to Seta running costs.
Can money be claimed back only after expensive formal training?

All Setas advocate the use of good quality, transferable training. Mandatory grants will be given regardless of the training’s accreditation status – Discretionary grants are typically only given for accredited training, this is now formalised as 40% is disbursed for PIVOTAL programme (i.e. programmes aligned to qualifications or part qualifications on the NQF).

The paperwork and Seta processes are confusing. How can I find assistance?

Help is at hand to guide you:

  • The Setas regularly host national road shows to help companies through this process. Contact them and they may offer one-on-one assistance through skills advisors;
  • Use our training section;
  • Enlist the services of a professional Skills Development Facilitator.
Where do I find the right training?

Word of mouth is undoubtedly the best way to check if a course is right for you. You can also try:

The training environment is highly competitive and many options are available. Once you’ve found a good fit for your organisation, remember to check the provider’s accreditation details.

What can I expect from a Skills development facilitator (SDF)?

This depends on your needs, and factors such as the size of your company and the processes already in place. For optional SDF services please see our Skills development section.


Does the law require application for accreditation?

No, it is not a legislated issue but rather a market driven effort. Most corporate companies and government training tenders insist on accredited training.

What is an Education and Training Quality Assurance body (ETQA)?

These are bodies within Setas that are responsible for the monitoring and auditing of the provision and achievement of NQF registered standards and qualifications through quality assurance systems and processes. Some ETQAs fall outside the jurisdiction of a specific Seta and these are regulated by professional bodies, such as the SABPP or the Nursing Council.

To which ETQA should I apply?

The selected ETQA will be determined by the content of the material and training you deliver, namely the core of your training outcomes. So, the focus is not the audience/learners to whom training is offered, or the product issues covered, but rather the generic, underlying principles.

Can I apply to a Seta other than the one to which I pay my SDL?

Yes you can. Often a provider’s core business varies from the training being delivered. However an application for institutional accreditation can only be made to one ETQA.

My range of courses falls within different ETQAs. Which ETQA should I approach?

Your organisation should approach the ETQA where most of your training lies. An ETQA’s memorandum of understanding (MOU) with other ETQAs allows them to evaluate the programmes that do not fall within their scope.

What if there are no Unit standards for my course?

Where there are no standards, you will need to decide whether to leave it unaligned or accept a currently registered standard. Unit standards can be reviewed on www.saqa.org.za

My organisation provides training but no assessments. Is that fine?

As a Seta accredited provider you are obliged to offer assessment, whether through your own processes or an agreement with an assessment centre. These arrangements must be in place to obtain and maintain accreditation status.

What is the registration process for assessors?

Assessors need to complete an assessor course and the subsequent assessment, which is often a portfolio of evidence. Once deemed competent, assessors are invited to register with the ETQA that has jurisdiction over the Unit Standards or qualifications in the desired assessment category.