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Some changes to Fasset Benefits

The Seta landscape is changing. Setas as we know them will only exist for another two years. Thereafter, Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande intends replacing Setas with Sector Education and Training Advisory Boards (SETABs). Setas current operating licenses have been re-established until 31 March 2018. The fact that Setas will only continue to exist in their current format for another two years has strengthened Fasset’s resolve to ensure maximum impact, and also, leave a lasting legacy. Fasset posed the question: “If we only have two years left and a limited pool of funding, what should the Seta focus on to ensure that it addresses the multiple challenges and gaps in the skills pipeline, in a way that will enable Fasset to make the greatest difference?” Responding to this question, Fasset has become a lot more focused on delivery. For the two years that remain, Fasset will focus on placement and academic support. As a result of this concise focus, some of Fasset’s benefits have changed. The changes are effective for the 2016/2017 financial year.

Grant
Mandatory Grants have not changed. The submission of an Annual Training Report (ATR) 2015/16 combined with the Skills Development Plan 2016/2017 allows employers to claim 20% of their Skills Development Levy (SDL) paid to Fasset. Employers can claim this grant for any training planned and undertaken in the firm, irrespective of the nature of the training. Training conducted/planned for any population group is acceptable for the grant. This grant is due on 30 April 2016.

Discretionary Grants
Fasset has “tweaked” some of its grants to ensure that there is very strong delivery in the area of placement and academic support. Fasset will no longer offer the PIVOTAL Grant and the Learnership Cash Grant. The PIVOTAL Grant had two components: a learnership component and a bursary component. The learnership component, together with the Learnership Cash Grant, has been included in a new grant, the Placement Grant. A new grant, the Bursary Grant, includes the old bursary component. The Bursary Grant is aligned to scarce skills. Fasset wants to leave a lasting legacy. In order to do so, it needs to build a robust and sustainable skills pipeline. It is imperative, therefore that learners complete their learnerships. Fasset will, therefore, continue to offer its NSFAS Loan Repayment Grant, which relieves learners registered on learnerships off much of their financial burden.

Lifelong learning
Lifelong learning remains a flagship offering. This offering is very important as it enables Fasset stakeholders to ensure that their professional skills remain current. However, the offering has been reduced. Going forward, the Seta will host three events annually: Budget and Tax, Compliance and Changes in legislation and a soft skills topic. Once Fasset has confirmed the topic for the soft skills lifelong learning intervention, the Seta will post this information on the Fasset website: www.fasset.org.za

Placement
Many employers recruit talent from Fasset-funded Bridging Programmes into Employment and the TVET Work-based Experience project. Fasset will continue to fund these programmes. Despite a lacklustre economy, characterised by sluggish growth, the placement rate for learners in employment on completion of Fasset’s work readiness programmes consistently exceeds 70%. This achievement confirms that these learners are adding value in the workplace. Fasset’s TVET Work-based Experience project has also proved a resounding success. The project has exposed employers to a new and hitherto unexploited pool of talent. Fasset and other employers, who have taken on TVET learners, now recognise that these learners add considerable value in the workplace. Many employers now approach Fasset directly for additional TVET learners.