How-to deal with a Trade test application at merSETA for eligible apprentices

RMI employer members very often find themselves in a situation where a staff member, who is au fait with merSETA process and procedures, resigns or goes on pension, leaving a vacuum of knowledge for the new employee.  This article seeks to clarify what steps need to be taken. 

Who is an eligible apprentice?

Any individual who has completed the apprentice training programme and meets the requirements of access to a trade test.  The merSETA regional offices will be able to advise on the eligibility for a trade test as it is often not the same as entry requirements into an apprentice programme.  By way of example, the N2 requirement does not apply to Competency-Based Modular Training (CBMT) for the motor trades including motor mechanic, vehicle spray painter, motor body repairer, and automotive machinist.  The N2 requirement is relevant for a time-based trade such as diesel mechanic.  The N2 requirement is also relevant to apprentices who  trained on the Learnership (NQF 2, 2, and 4) delivery method.

Why does the Artisan Recognition of Prior Learning (ARPL) process not get mentioned here?

The ARPL process has a different set of requirements. It specifically provides for candidates who either did not complete an apprenticeship training programme,  or have sufficient years of relevant trade-related experience and meet the academic and age requirements as prescribed by the National Artisan Moderation Body and as implemented by the merSETA for trades under the auspices of this Sector Education Training Authority (SETA). 

What are the typical steps for an employer to follow in the application for a trade test for eligible apprentices?    

  1. Trade test applications should be sent to tradetest@merseta.org.za.

This department at merSETA deals with all trade test applications, trade test-related enquiries and date requests.

Employers can also submit applications or make enquiries on the merSETA National Skills Development Management System (NSDMS).

  1. Scrutinising of trade test application

The merSETA Education Training Quality Assurance head office department and regional offices form part of the scrutineering process. 

The Trade Test department verifies the eligibility of the apprentice.

The nomination of a Decentralized Trade Test Centre (DTTC) form part of the application and normally, depending on the number of DTTCs per trade, should be near the employer where the apprentice has undergone his/her apprentice training.   

  1. Serial number

The merSETA Trade Test Department, following verifying the application, and satisfied that all criteria have been met, issues a serial number to the eligible apprentice.

The serial number stays with the apprentice through the process and also is key for the issue of the certificate once found competent by the DTTC and communicated with the merSETA regional office. 

How does the issuing of the trade certificate work?

This process has been covered in detail in a previous edition of Automobil. Click here to familiarise yourself with the procedure – https://joom.ag/zfsI/p16 (page 17).