What is an ESDA?


In February 2001 the Minister of Labour M.M.S. Mdladlana launched the National Skills Development Strategy (NSDS). The NSDS was developed in terms of the Skills Development Act and the Skills Development Levies Act. A key component of the Skills Development Act has been the introduction of learnerships. The Act provides the legislative basis for learnerships; and is supported by regulations.  

What is an ESDA?

An Employment and Skills Development Agency (ESDA) is an organisation or company that, through written agreement with an employer, employs learners and manages the placement of the learners with host employers for on the job training and assessment and approved training institutions for off the job training to complete a regulated training program a learnership or apprenticeship.  

What are the duties and Responsibilities of an ESDA? 

An ESDA has multiple functions

       Assist South Africa to meet the National Skills Development Strategy

       Assist learners

       Assist government institutions and companies

       Assist SETAs 

       Assist in creating jobs 

What is the role of an ESDA? 


The ESDA scheme, sometimes called Group Training, is an employment and skills development initiative designed to:Create additional Learnership opportunities;

  • Provide for continuity of learning for learners across different workplaces through to the completion of their Learnership Agreement
  • Improve the quality and breadth of training available to learners, particularly in small, micro and medium enterprises (SMME’s)
  • The Department of Labour will therefore, over the next three years, be piloting the ESDAs in selected organisations an integral part of the government's plans for increased participation in skills development, employment and economic growth

This initiative is supported by the Department of Labour and the Australian Agency for International Development funded South African Vocational Education and Training (AusAID - SAVET) Programme.

How does an ESDA Operate?


An Employment and Skills Development Agency (ESDA) is a company that employs learners and managers the placement of the learners with host employers for on-the-job-training and components of the learnership. The hosts are usually SMMEs and approved training institutions for off-the-job-training to complete a Learnership.

An ESDA is an independent and separately incorporated, non-profit organisation conducted on a commercial basis. An ESDA provides a means for the employment and training of special groups within the labour market and provide a service for employers that do not have the capacity to manage their own learnership but who are nonetheless committed to recognised, high quality training.

Legislation governing an ESDA

Generally, the duties and responsibilities of an ESDA cover a wide range of obligations in terms of the various labour legislation:

      Skills Development Act 

      Basic Conditions of Employment Act 

      Employment Equity Act

      Labour Relations Act

       Occupational Health and Safety Act 

      And other relevant pieces of legislation.    

In addition to the above ESDA's are by legislation, preffered suppliers to Government, Muncipalities SETA's and Industry