Learnership vs. Apprenticeship: Which One Suits You?

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Learnerships and apprenticeships are both work-based learning programs that offer a great opportunity for individuals to earn a qualification while gaining practical experience. While both programs are similar, they have distinct differences that set them apart. It is important that you know what each entails before making an informed decision. 

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Both learnerships and apprenticeships offer great opportunities for individuals to earn a qualification while gaining practical experience. But, which option suits YOU? 

Firstly, you need to understand what a learnership and an apprenticeship is: 


Learnerships are work-based learning programs that combine theoretical learning with practical training. They are designed to provide learners with the knowledge and skills required for a specific occupation or industry.

Learnerships are offered by employers, training providers, and educational institutions and are available to individuals who have completed their secondary education. Learnerships can last from six months to three years and are usually completed on a full-time basis.

However, unlike apprenticeships, learnerships are not limited to a specific trade or craft and can be used to gain a variety of skills and qualifications. They are also typically targeted at unemployed, although anyone can apply.

A very important aspect of a Learnership is that it must be linked to a Qualification.  If you successfully complete the theoretical learning part of the Learnership you will be awarded a Qualification. That is why a Learnership is sometimes described as a 'workplace-based route to a qualification'.  This is different to a 'full-time study route to a qualification' which is the traditional way to study. This is where you study full-time at a university or college.

One other great advantage of a Learnership is that you will actually be paid. There is a government regulation called a Sectoral Determination which stipulates how much the learner on a Learnership must get paid. This is called a stipend.


Apprenticeships are training programs that provide hands-on experience in a specific trade or craft. Apprenticeships are typically offered by trade organizations, unions, and employers and are available to individuals who have completed their secondary education.

Apprenticeships can last from one to five years and involve a combination of on-the-job training and classroom instruction.

Additionally, apprenticeships are typically paid positions and upon completion, you can receive a certificate of qualification in your chosen field.

Which one suits you? 

If you are looking for a program that will provide you with both theoretical knowledge and practical experience, then a learnership may be the right choice for you. Learnerships offer a structured learning environment and are designed to prepare learners for a specific occupation or industry.

On the other hand, if you are interested in a specific trade or craft and want to gain hands-on experience, then an apprenticeship may be the right choice for you. Apprenticeships offer practical training and allow you to learn from experienced professionals in your chosen field.


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Are you considering applying for an apprenticeship or internship to further your professional experience? Both these opportunities share a lot in common, but there are some differences to take note of before choosing which one is right for you.

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