As part of strategic interventions under the Key Priority Grant funding window of the Vocational Education and Training (VET) Levy, the Namibia Training Authority has identified apprenticeship training as one such a key intervention for funding. Apprenticeship training requires an apprentice to acquire the skills for an occupation in a company, while learning and working side-by-side with an experienced Artisan/Technician/ Supervisor. In addition, the Apprentice learns occupational related theory at a registered training institution to complement on-the-job training in the workplace.
Apprenticeship is a time-honored way of training for a trade or profession. Instead of completing an educational program and then taking an entry-level job, an apprentice begins work from the start of the programme, earning money as the apprentice builds skills through supervised training and classroom theoretical education. Many people enter an apprenticeship as a way of learning new job skills while being able to draw a salary and avoid the high cost of traditional technical and vocational training programmes.
Apprenticeship training complements the Namibian government’s ongoing endeavour to reduce poverty and create employment opportunities for the youth. Apprenticeships are structured training programmes which give the apprentice a chance to work (literally) towards a qualification. Gaining the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in a chosen industry, the apprentice gets into employment earlier and progresses in his/her career path quickly.
In short, apprenticeship not only allows apprentices to master a skill set for a specific occupation from a company,but allow them to earn while they learn, as well.
All employers with the ability and capacity to provide a practical learning environment to apprentices are eligible to apply and participate in the NTA's Apprenticeship Programme. Unemployed and unskilled youth (age 16-35) who meet the entry requirements of the employer, the qualification and the training institution will be able to participate. A sister programme, namely Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) will continue to address the needs for the skilled labour force without formal qualifications.
Eligible employers are encouraged to join the NTA's apprenticeship programme drive. The employer must be approved by the NTA to recruit apprentices. Other considerations include: a) An Apprentice shall be employed by a company, registered for Social Security Commission (SSC) benefits and shall sign an apprenticeship contract setting out the conditions of employment and training for the duration of the apprenticeship. b) An apprentice shall receive a monthly allowance of not less than the NTA-regulated minimum amount. c) Apprenticeship training must be based on a qualification registered on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). d) Theoretical training must be conducted by a registered and/ or accredited training institution. e) Assessments must be conducted at registered and/or accredited training institutions, assessment centers or approved workplaces. f) The training provider should assist the employer to draw up the training schedule on a 70:30 ratio/9 months: 3 months basis.
Participation in this programme can be broken up into four key phases:
Stage 1: Application & Key Considerations An eligible employer will submit an application as per a prescribed application template form to the NTA's Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) Division. Before completing an application, an employer should consider the following: a) Those occupations in which apprentices will be required, in relation to the human resource development plan of the company. b) The machinery, tools and equipment required to support learning in the workplace and whether mentors are available at an acceptable ratio. c) The available accredited/registered training institution who has the capacity to train apprentices as per agreed training costs and training schedule/s. d) Compliance certificate of factory registration/fitness certificate from the Municipality, SSC and company registration. e) Qualified Mentors with relevant qualifications and experience (Artisan Level 3 and 3 years relevant experience).
Stage 2: Work Approval All employers with potential to participate in the Apprenticeship programme should first receive approval from the NTA. Before granting approval, the NTA must be satisfied that the prospective employer meet the requirements of the qualification.
Stage 3: Funding Agreement The employer and the NTA signs the Memorandum of Agreement for funding. The NTA through the VET Levy subsidises employers with a training grant towards the training cost and the apprentice's monthly allowance.
Stage 4: Recruitment and Training The employer should ensure the selection and recruitment process is fair and transparent. Once finalised, the employer, the apprentice and the training institution shall sign a tripartite agreement for training to start. The NTA and all the parties will monitor and evaluate the progress of learning. The employer has an obligation to prepare existing staff with respect to receiving new apprentices and ensure that apprentices have an opportunity to rotate through various workstations within the organisation, relevant to the qualification. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), tools, machinery and equipment should be available to perform relevant skill assignments.
The NTA will avail an incentive grant to employers who hire apprentices under this programme.
The funding for apprentices is derived from the Key Priority Grant (KPG) funding window of the Vocational Education and Training (VET) Levy.
The grant covers a total amount of N$ 30,000 per apprentice per year that is allocated to pay the trainee a minimum monthly allowance of N$2500.00 per month. Employers may add to this amount if their current remuneration policy allows such an addition. The amount of N$2500.00 per month is based on a Ministry of Labour and National Union of Namibian Workers and the Construction Industry Federation gazetted agreement where over 14 occupations were allocated minimum hourly rates for semi-skilled workers. The average of these rates equated to approximately N$ 15.00 per hour.
Apprentices will be paid each month irrespective of whether they are in the workplace or at the training institution. The remaining amount will be used by the employer to pay all other expenditure, including the training costs to the training provider.
While the NTA accepts that training costs vary across different sectors, it is also recognised that training costs arise at different areas of training, where that might be as tools and equipment, or solely for training fees. For this reason, employers are reminded to negotiate the best deal with training providers, while understanding what services are covered under the training fees. Employers are informed that the amount allocated is for a full financial year, including cases of extension of training.
In line with requirements for submission of Employer Training Grants, VET Levy paying employers may submit as part of their applications excess incentives provided to the apprentices. These costs will not be claimed as additional costs, but as part of a maximum of 50% of the levy the employer have paid.
To maintain the grant as an attractive incentive, while limiting the NTA’s risk of disbursing funds too quickly, the funding is disbursed in four tranches, namely:
1st Tranche: 25% paid when the employer recruits the apprentices and signs the apprenticeship agreement with the apprentice and the training provider.
2nd Tranche: 25% paid when the apprentice has completed 3 months’ probation to the satisfaction of the employer and training provider.
3rd Tranche: 40% paid when the apprentice has completed approximately 60% of the training in that year and according to an adequately completed logbook with positive reports from the training provider. This payment is scheduled with some flexibility on a case by case basis given that many training programmes have very varied training schedules.
4th Tranche: 10% paid when the trainee has received a certificate, pass, for this level. Apprentices who fail to complete on the first attempt will be allowed repeat attempts but will do so at the cost of the employer or the apprentice or both by mutual agreement.
Assessment & Logbook
Under the Competency-Based Education and Training (CBET) system, trainees are assessed during the course to check competencies are achieved and to address areas where the trainee may be falling behind. These assessments are called ‘formative assessments’. When the course is complete, the trainee signs a ‘readiness form’ and then undergoes ‘summative assessment’ to ensure that they have become fully competent in each unit standard of the taught level.
Generally, apprentices have less time in a training institution and more time in the work place than a full-time trainee but will still be assessed ‘summatively’ in the same way as full-time trainees.
Depending on the arrangement made between the training institution and the employer, not all unit standards, especially those of a practical and repetitive nature, will be taught at the training institution. Therefore, the complete and concise completion of the logbook becomes very important, since the NTA Assessment Division will now check the record of formative assessment performance at the training institution and the logbook to ensure that the Apprentice has received adequate experience in certain practical unit standards to be considered competent.
The logbook, therefore, becomes a portfolio of evidence (POE) that supports the record of formative assessment in precipitating the commencement of the summative assessment. If a logbook is unfilled, or the Apprentice has not rotated sufficiently around the workplace to gain adequate competencies, then the NTA will refuse the Apprentice to proceed to summative assessment.
The NTA has consulted with many logbook users and designed a simplified logbook template that acts as a daily diary, a weekly check list and a monthly appraisal of the apprentice’s current performance. Each logbook will be supplied with the course unit standards or modules printed at the front to guide the apprentice’s exposure. The logbook is not supposed to be an administrative burden on the mentors and this is one reason why the ratio of apprentices to mentors is kept quite low, so that one mentor does not have to check 10 logbooks and eventually falls behind on the task.
CALL FOR EMPLOYER APPLICATIONS FOR APPRENTICESHIP TRAINING The NTA hereby invites qualified employers to apply for apprenticeship training in the occupational areas where qualifications and accredited/registered training institutions exist. Prospective employers should meet the following requirements: a) Capacity to deliver the training programme/s applied for, in terms of tools and equipment, machinery and qualified mentors; b) Understanding of the qualification/occupation applied for; c) Established relationship with a registered/accredited training institution; and d) Standard compliance assurance
Note: Employers who applied during the pilot phase of the Apprenticeship Programme (2017-18) are encouraged to apply for new funding, whether their application was successful, or not. The application form can be downloaded through the link below:
All applications and certified copies of supporting documentation should be hand-delivered to the NTA's Head Office's in Rand Street, Khomasdal, Windhoek and should be clearly marked 'Apprenticeship Training'.
For inquiries, contact: Mr. Johannes Petrus Acting WIL Specialist Tel: +2646120178566 Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Representatives of the NTA's Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) Division will be visiting venues countrywide to share information about the Apprenticeship Programme and its objectives with prospective employers and training institutions interested in participating in this initiative, as per the schedule below.
Teams will be available from 08:00 to 17:00 daily to attend to any questions prospective employer and training institution participants mights have.
5 April 2019, 08:00-17:00 Windhoek, Ramatex Conference venue, as part of 2019NSC
15 April 2019, 08:00-17:00 Ongwediva, Destiny Hotel
17 April 2019, 08:00-17:00 Tsumeb, Makalani Hotel
24 April 2019, 08:00-17:00 Katima Mulilo, Zambezi VTC
26 April 2019, 08:00-17:00 Rundu, Rundu VTC
7 May 2019, 08:00-17:00 Walvis Bay, Protea Hotel Marriot
21 May 2019, 08:00-17:00 Lüderitz, Hotel Sea View Zum Sperrgebiet
Apprenticeship allows for employers to take in young people/school-leavers and train and mentor them under real-life work conditions towards attaining national qualifications in the Vocational Education and Training (VET) field. This component covers learning that takes place through the medium of work and has largely been missing in our local VET system. Embracing apprenticeship can also yield a myriad of benefits to employers as it can serve as a source of skilled employees better moulded to fit specific organisational needs. It also serves as a screening mechanism for potential employees, reducing recruitment and induction costs.
What is the role of the employer in the Apprenticeship Programme?
Employers shall employ apprentices through individual contracts setting out conditions of employment and training for the duration thereof. The NTA subsidises the remuneration of apprentices, whereas the employer partners with a registered/accredited training institution, who in turn support training and assessment towards national VET qualifications. Of particular importance is that employers avail dedicated mentors to support training. Once an agreement is reached with the NTA the employer identifies and recruits apprentices through a fair and transparent process.
What is the role of the registered/accredited training institution?
The Work-Integrated Learning Division is to link participating employers to credible training institutions, either registered with the NTA, or accredited with our sister organisation, the Namibia Qualifications Authority (NQA), towards supporting the apprentice in acquiring a national qualification. Amongst others, the training institution shall work out individual training schedules with employers; set standard operating procedures; monitor progress; and advise the apprentice and the employer on pertinent issues that may arise during the process.
What are the key principles for participation in the Apprenticeship Programme?
The employer must be approved by the NTA to register apprentices. The apprentice shall be contracted by the employer and shall receive remuneration according to a NTA regulated and subsidised allowance. Employers may make an additional contribution to the allowance in line with their internal pay structures. All apprenticeships must be based on the apprentice attaining a full national qualification in which theoretical training must be conducted by a registered/accredited training institution. The NTA shall monitor and quality-assure workplace training provision.
What is the purpose of apprenticeship?
Apprenticeship programmes enable employers to develop and apply industry standards to training programs for registered apprentices that can increase productivity and improve the quality of the workforce.