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Jan 30, 2024

The Impact of Skills Development on Job Creation

For a business owner, the start of a new year is not a reset button but rather a continuation of the ever-evolving business life cycle, therefore a new year does not necessarily bring new challenges or new opportunities, it brings additional challenges and opportunities. As things stand, the price of petrol is set to increase which generally means an increase of your business expenses. This blog aims to focus on one aspect that could help you save money, increase your sites efficiencies, customer services and relevance to the community.

Unpopular Opinion

With the high statistics of unemployment, the focus should be on recruiting individuals who are qualified in their respective fields, and efforts should be made to encourage those who dropped out of high school to complete their studies. The South African government has placed various measures in place to ensure that people get a qualification for their trade. There are initiatives such as ABET. ABET programs are aimed at helping individuals acquire the basic knowledge and skills they need to function effectively in society and to improve their employment prospects. You ask yourself, what is the excuse of a young person to not be certified within a basic trade that can improve their employment prospects. The fuel retail industry is labour intensive and according to the FRA employs over 80 000 people. It is sad to note that a significant number of these individuals are not qualified, as Dealers, we trust them with our customers vehicles.

As Dealers, it is time that we support Government efforts of building communities of people that are educated and certified in their trades because this increases their employability. Service stations have the following available qualifications and skills programmes; Service Stations Operations Level NQF Level 2, Forecourt Attendant, Checkout Operator, Merchandising and others. As Dealers, we have a responsibility to our customers to ensure that they are being serviced by competent and capable individuals every time on site. Are we saying take all your staff for training? Yes. Are we saying pay for it? No. So how are you meant to do it? 

Directing Skills Development Levies to W&RSETA for Targeted Training Excellence

If you closely review your payroll, specifically focusing on your EMP201 reports, you'll notice a portion dedicated to Skills Development Levies (SDL). This contribution is intended for the training and development of your staff. However, if your company is not appropriately linked to the correct SETA (in the case of fuel retailers, the Wholesale and Retail SETA), this funding could be misallocated to other SETAs. The Skills Development Levies Act, No. 9 of 1999 established a compulsory levy scheme for the purpose of funding education and training as envisaged in the Skills Development Act, No. 97 of 1998. The Skills Development Levies Act came into operation on 1 September 1999 and the levy became payable with effect from 1 April 2000.

The National Skills Fund (NSF) in conjunction with the various SETA’s is responsible for the administration of the Skill Development Act No. 97 of 1998. Any enquiries regarding the levy grant scheme must therefore be referred to the relevant SETA or the Department of Labour.

The Commissioner for the South African Revenue Service is responsible for administrating the Skills Development Levies Act in so far as it relates to the collection and the payment of the levy by employers to the Commissioner. 

A Guide to Annual Work Skills Planning and Job Creation

Each year, W&RSETA provides a unique opportunity for employers to submit their Work Skills Plan (WSP). In simpler terms, the WSP outlines your strategy for training staff in areas where they may be lacking skills. Once submitted, SETA reviews and approves the plan, subsequently offering your employees necessary interventions as outlined on your plan.

Additionally, W&RSETA presents an avenue for employers to express their interest in providing Learnerships to unemployed youth. For instance, you could recruit 10 young individuals from your community, offering them a year-long training programme with a monthly stipend covered by SETA. This translates to ten more additional staff for your site, without necessarily blowing up your wage bill. This will significantly boost to your business profitability and further enhance customer experience. 

Financial Incentives for Targeted Training for Your Employees

One of the most rewarding aspects of engaging with SETA is the array of benefits they provide to your company, particularly through tax incentives. As your employees successfully completes these learnership programmes, your company becomes eligible for a S12H completion allowances, acting as a deduction from taxable income and offering a significant financial boost to your business.

Investing in employee development not only enhances your workforce but also brings about a tangible financial advantage through tax savings. This translates into potential savings of thousands on tax benefits per employee. In the face of ever-increasing operational costs and tight margin these tax benefits can help alleviate cashflow pressures businesses often face, creating a win-win situation for both employers and employees alike. Tax Tim breaks down the 12 H allowance for employers.

How To Take Advantage of These Benefits?

To tap into these benefits, it's crucial for Dealers to appoint a Skills Development Facilitator (SDF) for their site. This designated individual plays a pivotal role in ensuring your eligibility for the Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) and assists in crafting the Annual Training Report (ATR).

The SDF takes charge of handling these processes, guaranteeing compliance with SETA requirements, and contributing to valuable skills development. By appointing a dedicated SDF, you empower your business to qualify for mandatory and the grant funding for Learnerships and short skills development programmes for your employees.

PetroCONNECT Powering the Industry

PetroCONNECT, a leading Skills Development Services provider, can serve as your liaison with SETA, helping you efficiently grasp these benefits. Through our Skills Development Services, we offer diverse approaches for implementing skill development within your business. These approaches can help you as a retailer benefit on the tax rebates for your business.

WSP Submissions are due by 30 April 2024. If you’d like to appoint PetroCONNECT as your SDF, please CONNECT with us at info@petroconnect.co. It is FREE!