How to maximise your training for BEE recognition

19 May 2022 608
The various types of skills training available in South Africa and the corresponding BEE recognition it provides, has become very technical, resulting in many businesses finding it difficult to decide on and implement the appropriate training programmes to achieve their desired training and BEE goals. Here we discuss and simplify the most prevalent types of training in South Africa and also address BEE recognition applicable to the different types of training.

In terms of the BEE Codes of Good Practice there are seven types or categories of training listed on the Skills Development Matrix. The classification of these categories is quite technical, and rather than unpacking this matrix in detail, we will simplify and discuss the most common training types and to what extent they are recognised from a BEE perspective.

From a BEE perspective there are two main types of training – unaccredited training and accredited training.

Unaccredited training

This type of training is also referred to as informal training and generally comprises all training not provided by an accredited institution. Typically there are two general types of unaccredited training:

a) Occupationally-directed

Such training is normally provided by an external institution and in many cases, there are costs involved in providing the training. Examples are continuing professional development (CPD), seminars and workshops. In some instances, attendees or learners are provided with certificates. This type of training is a prime example of an invoiced training cost with certificates issued that is not or only partially recognised for BEE purposes.

b) Work-based

Such training is usually provided internally by a fellow employee of the business. Normally a line manager or senior member of the organisation provides training sessions to improve the understanding and productivity of the staff in the work environment.

The maximum BEE recognition afforded to a business for unaccredited training is limited to 25%, but it must be very clear on how this 25% is calculated. This limitation means a maximum of 25% of the total training of a business can be unaccredited. In other words, if you spend R0 on accredited training you get R0 recognition for unaccredited training.

For this reason, it is important that your primary focus must be on accredited training if you wish to maximise your BEE recognition. It is also important to keep sufficient and correct evidence of training completed to ensure that you can substantiate such training for BEE recognition.

Accredited training

This type of training generally comprises all training that is not unaccredited and is normally provided by an accredited institution.

a) Learnerships (institution and workplace)

This type of training involves an institution-based theoretical component as well as a workplace component. In most cases the theoretical and workplace components are integrated in the programme and completed simultaneously. Normally a training cost is paid to the provider and a salary (or stipend) is paid to the learner.

Both the training cost and the salary (or stipend) can be recognised as BEE spend. Companies that choose to enroll current employed staff members on a learnership can recognise the full salary of those staff members for the duration of the learnership. These learners are also referred to as employed learners or 18(1) learners.

Other types of training that can also be broadly categorised under this section are internships and apprenticeships. Both of these generally also consist of a salary or stipend component that can be recognized for BEE purposes.

The distinctive benefit of some of these programmes is that the learners completed the institution-based training prior to their workplace component, which means that the company only has to incur the costs of the salary or stipend component and not the training cost. If these programmes are included in the overall recruitment and human resource plan of the company it is the most cost-effective training from a BEE perspective.

b) Mandatory training

This form of training refers to all training mandated by legislation as a non-negotiable within a specific industry to be able to trade within that industry, such as health & safety training. Care must however be taken to determine exactly what mandatory training is applicable to your sector.

Mandatory training, which in most cases is provided by accredited institutions, is not recognised for BEE purposes.  

c) Institution based

This type of training is normally provided by an accredited institution and there is no workplace component involved in the achievement of the course or qualification. Examples are degrees, diplomas or short courses completed through universities and technical colleges.

Generally, only the invoiced training cost can be recognised for BEE purposes as there is no recognised salary (or stipend) component applicable.  

Without a doubt the classification of training from a BEE perspective has become rather technical and it generally requires a BEE or skills development specialist to help the business plan for and implement the correct training programmes to maximise both training benefits and BEE recognition.

Disclaimer: This article is the personal opinion/view of the author(s) and is not necessarily that of the firm. The content is provided for information only and should not be seen as an exact or complete exposition of the law. Accordingly, no reliance should be placed on the content for any reason whatsoever and no action should be taken on the basis thereof unless its application and accuracy has been confirmed by a legal advisor. The firm and author(s) cannot be held liable for any prejudice or damage resulting from action taken on the basis of this content without further written confirmation by the author(s).
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