18 April 2016
Eligible employers have until the 30th of April 2016 to submit claims under the Employer Training Grant Funding Window of the Vocational Education and Training (VET) Levy, for training conducted during the 2015/16 financial year.
To create awareness about this expectation, the NTA’s National Training Fund Department recently embarked on a nationwide sensitisation campaign to share information with employers about the criteria to be considered in the preparation of employer claim applications.
The Stakeholder spoke to the General Manager: National Training Fund, Joseph Mukendwa (photo) to shed more light on this process.
JM: All levies collected by the NTA in a financial year are to be disbursed at the end of that particular financial year, in line with the following allocation: 35% for Key Priority Training Grants; Up to 50% for Employer Training Grants; and Up to 15% for the NTA’s Administration costs. In line with this formula, all eligible levy-paying employers may submit applications under the grant to the NTA within 31 days after the end of the financial year.
SH: What is to be considered under applications for the Employer Training Grant?
JM: The regulations relating to the application of the VET Levy define training as “training related to vocational training provided by a private vocational training provider accredited by the Namibia Qualifications Authority (NQA), or a State-owned Vocational Training Centre.
In line with this definition, the NTA is to consider the following training interventions under the Employment Training Grant: a) All NQA accredited VET courses; and b) Training courses not accredited by the NQA, but related to accredited VET courses. This may include short courses, in-house training and training outside of Namibia. Approval by the NTA Board is required in such cases.
SH: Tell us more about the eligibility criteria.
JM: Employers must meet the following eligibility criteria to submit a claim under the Employer Training Grant: a) Up to date with the payment of the VET Levy payable by the employer; b) Does not have any interest referred to in Section 38 of the VET Act or any penalty referred to in Section 39 of the VET Act, outstanding in respect of the VET Levy; and c) Has submitted to the NTA evidence of the implementation of training i.e. completed and submitted a claim form together with relevant documentation.
SH: What about costs? What qualifies for grants?
JM: Where training is conducted in-company, eligible costs include: a) Facilitator training costs for the duration of training; b) Cost of training materials used in the training process; c) Assessment and certification costs; and d) Subsistence and Travelling (S&T) allowance costs and expenses, for both facilitators and trainees.
Where training is procured from, or conducted by an external service provider, the following line items will be regarded as direct training costs: a) S&T allowance costs to and from the training venue; and b) Invoiced/ receipted costs from the service provider.
SH: Tell us more about the types of evidence.
Evidence may include the following: a) Signed attendance register or cerificates of attendance; b) Proof of payment/receipts from the training service provider; c) Tax invoices for training materials procured; d) S&T records in accordance with company policy; e) Accommodation receipts; f) Assessment and certification records; and g) Any other supplementary records and receipts applicable to the training.
For inspection purposes, employers are to maintain all of the aforementioned records and any other relevant supporting information, in line with the Directorate of Inland Revenue’s prescribed five-year retention period.
Employers who comply with the above criteria must submit claims to the NTA within 31 days after the end of the financial year.
SH: How do employers submit applications?
Employers should complete and submit claim applications online at the NTA’s corporate website, www.nta.com.na.
SH: Why is it important for eligible employers to keep to the set deadline of 30th April 2016?
JM: It is important that they do. It gives us the time we need to evaluate applications and ensure that funds are disbursed timely. Those who do not make the deadline risk losing their 50% allocation.
SH: Tell us about your recent nationwide sensitisation campaign.
JM: Three teams visited key locations across the country from the 29th of March until the 13th of April 2016 and had meetings with VET Levy-registered employers. These meetings were aimed at clarifying aspects relating to the eligibility criteria on which claims under the Employer Training Grant are based. The teams also zoomed in on the types of evidence to be submitted as part of claim applications, specific cost items that qualify as actual training costs and the online system to be used for submission of claims.
SH: How was the response from employers?
JM: Overall, very good! Indeed, the feedback from the three teams indicates that the VET Levy-registered employers remain in support of the VET Levy as a key programme through which industry can play its part in the upskilling of the Namibian labour force.
SH: Who can employers contact should they have questions?
JM: They are welcome to contact our Helpdesk at 061-2078 542 or 061-2078 566.