Frequently Asked Questions about the QCTO


Skills development in South Africa is going through big changes as the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) prepares to take over management of quality assurance for accredited qualifications and skills programmes from the SETAs. How will this impact you as a workplace provider of accredited vocational learning programmes?

Courtesy of the SA Board for People Practices (SABPP), here are some Frequently Asked Questions about the QCTO:

Why was the QCTO set up?

The QCTO was set up because there was a need for an overarching institution with national capacity for quality assurance of trades and professional qualifications, rather than the system which placed quality assurance for these with the Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) which are, by definition, concerned with sectors.

What is the main objective of the QCTO?

The QCTO will register occupational qualifications and part qualifications on the NQF framework. It will also govern the quality assurance processes for these qualifications, which are namely to; appoint and evaluate Development Quality Partners; appoint Assessment Quality Partners (AQPs); monitor and evaluate AQPs’ performance; register (and deregister) training providers on recommendation of AQPs, and to issue the qualification certificates to trainees.

How does the system of Occupational Awards and Qualifications work?

The new system involves greater separation of duties which should result in skills development becoming more effective.

How is it being implemented?

The QCTO Is gradually taking its delegated functions from SAQA, as it builds capacity. As described above, there is a transition period during which SETAs retain their QA functions in respect of existing qualifications. Each qualification has an expiry date, which cannot be longer than 5 years from registration of renewal, so all existing qualifications will have expired by 2017. Any student enrolled before mid-2016 will have until mid-2019 to complete.

What results have been obtained so far?

The QCTO has taken on a remedial role for SETAs who have not been able to perform adequate ETQA functions. Policies are in place to support the new occupational qualifications framework. To date, the QCTO has 87 occupational qualifications which have been registered.

What are the short and medium term plans for the QCTO?

The QCTO needs to complete the capacity building to enable it to stand alone as an institution (to date many functions have been carried out by SAQA). There is an insistence that quality assurance work will be removed from SETAs.

The move to the QCTO is not just an administrative one, but brings with it far reaching changes to how occupational learning is conducted. These changes will affect all stakeholders, including companies. For more information about the QCTO, click here.