This article by Roland Innes, Group CEO at DYNA Training, is titled ‘Navigating South Africa’s implementation of the OQSF and occupational programmes – why meeting the 2024 June 30 deadline matters’. This is part two of a two-part series.

ACRA is currently preparing for the new qualifications – read the article in RACA Journal May.

ACRA is currently preparing for the new qualifications – read the article in RACA Journal May. © RACA Journal

… continued from part one.

Impending deadlines and consequences of qualification displacement

One of the most critical challenges in this shift is that legacy or unit-standard based qualifications must be aligned to the rules of OQSF, and indeed the NQF. Several vital qualifications, such as generic management levels four and five and process manufacturing level four, lack equivalents in the OQSF at this moment, because occupational programmes are job specific. This creates a dilemma for organisations that had planned to enrol learners in these programmes, as the deadline for new enrolments is set for 30 June 2024. Failure to adapt to the new landscape in time could result in penalties, negatively impacting a company’s overall scorecard and its ability to achieve its skills development goals.

The looming deadline is no longer a technicality or a possibility; it is a call to action. Organisations must concede that the transition has become a reality, which means that ignoring it is no longer an option. Even as the question arises as to whether the government will extend the deadline or re-register a few qualifications, the ensuing uncertainty can only highlight the need for an initiative-taking approach. In the face of such uncertainty, having a Plan B is non-negotiable. Organisations must explore alternative pathways within the OQSF.

The teach-out provision, allowing learners to complete their learnerships and unit-standard based qualifications until 30 June 2027, is a lifeline for those who enrol before the deadline. However, the key is getting learners on board by 30 June 2024. The potential tax benefits associated with learnerships remain uncertain and may be subject to changes that organisations will need to track closely. In responding to the transition, skills development providers must play a decisive role – actively engaging with clients, identifying gaps in qualification alignment, and presenting viable options. Communication is key, and training providers should serve as guides through the transition, ensuring that clients are aware of the risks and opportunities that lie in the implementation of occupational programmes.

Toward a robust workforce and economic growth

Employers in SA benefit from occupational qualifications as they help create a skilled, competent and legally compliant workforce. These qualifications lead to a range of advantages, including increased productivity, reduced training costs and enhanced reputation – ultimately contributing to the success and growth of businesses and organisations.

While the transition may impact every sector, the degree of impact varies. It is essential for organisations across industries to recognise that this is not likely to be a seamless process. Delays, uncertainties and changes in decision-making will be part of the transition.

Managing the risks of this shift is now crucial for all involved. The QCTO plays a vital role in ensuring a skilled workforce, driving economic growth for South Africa’s national development. Its efforts to standardise, develop, quality-assure and promote lifelong employability are essential for building a resilient and adaptable workforce that can navigate the challenges and opportunities of the fourth industrial revolution and beyond.

The full-scale implementation of occupational qualifications registered on the OQSF in South Africa is a reality that cannot be ignored. Organisations must act now, either by enrolling learners in existing programmes or by exploring alternative pathways within the OQSF. The time for complacency is over; the time for strategic action is now.

Source: DYNA Training