NQF Levels are changing this year: what it means for your qualifications

  • The existing National Qualifications Framework (NQF) is set transition to the new Occupational Qualifications Sub Framework (OQSF) on 30th June this year.
  • Existing qualifications will not be reregistered, but new learners or learnerships in progress may have to adapt as some existing qualifications will not change over.
  • Roland Innes of corporate upskiller DYNA Training says that having a “Plan B” qualification is essential because of this.

On 30th June 2024, the levels of National Qualifications Framework (NQF) will become the Occupational Qualifications Sub Framework (OQSF). The CEO of the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO), which is overseeing the transition, has declared the changeover is imminent and existing qualifications will not be reregistered.

“Long anticipated but now undeniable, this shift carries substantial implications for various industries, employers, and training providers now referred to as Skills Development Providers,” explains Roland Innes, chief executive at Pretoria-based management and leadership upskiller DYNA Training.

Some qualifications in the NQF levels will be discontinued

Innes says that some qualifications which were once available under the NQF will soon be discontinued under the new OQSF. The repercussions of this “extend beyond individual learning journeys and extend to the business world, impacting B-BBEE scorecards,” he adds in an emailed statement to Hypertext.

“This makes it vital for organisations to reassess their training portfolios to ensure alignment with the new OQSF framework, or to seek suitable alternatives for discontinued qualifications, skills programmes, or short courses.”

According to Innes, one of the most critical challenges is that some existing NQF qualifications in the levels will no longer be available in the OQSF. These qualifications include generic management levels four and five and process manufacturing level four, which lack equivalents in the OQSF.

“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. The implications of missing this deadline are profound, and learnerships and qualifications that were once standard may no longer fit within the QCTO implementation strategy,” says Innes.

Trainers need to make sure to keep to the deadline

Innes believes that potentially missing the 30th June deadline will have a cascading impact on workforce planning, learner progression, and an organisation’s skills development.

“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.”

Innes believes that the transition may impact every sector, but the degree of the impact will vary. He adds that organisations across industries should understand that the transition will likely not be a seamless process.

“Even as the question arises as to whether the government will extend the deadline, re-register a few qualifications, or allow for continued use of existing learnerships, 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,” he says.

For instance, if a preferred qualification has no QCTO equivalent, considering alternative programmes within the available options becomes the only choice.

“In responding to the transition, training 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 presented by the QCTO,” Innes concludes.

[Image – Photo by Kimberly Farmer on Unsplash]


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