Unlocking Tax Benefits: Learnerships in South Africa

Unlocking Tax Benefits: Learnerships in South Africa

Disclaimer: Tax laws and regulations are subject to change. The information provided in this blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal or tax advice. For the most current and accurate information regarding tax benefits and regulations related to learnerships in South Africa, consult with the South African Revenue Service (SARS) or a qualified tax professional.


In South Africa, learnerships are not only a valuable tool for skills development and addressing unemployment but also a source of significant tax benefits for participating companies. These tax incentives are designed to encourage businesses to invest in the growth and development of their workforce while contributing to the broader goals of economic transformation and empowerment in the country.

In this article, we'll explore the tax benefits associated with learnerships in South Africa. Keep in mind that tax laws can change, so it's essential to consult with SARS or a tax expert to ensure you're taking full advantage of available incentives.

1. Skills Development Levy (SDL) Rebates

South African employers are required to pay a Skills Development Levy (SDL), which is calculated as a percentage of their monthly payroll. However, companies that participate in learnerships can benefit from SDL rebates. These rebates allow eligible employers to claim back a portion of the SDL paid, effectively reducing their overall skills development levy obligation. The aim is to incentivize companies to invest in skills development initiatives, including learnerships.

2. Tax Deductibility

Companies that engage in learnerships can often claim a tax deduction for various associated costs, such as training expenses, stipends or allowances paid to learners, and other related expenditures. This deduction is intended to motivate companies to invest in employee training and development. By reducing their taxable income through these deductions, companies can potentially lower their tax liability.

3. B-BBEE Scorecard Points

Participation in learnerships can also contribute to a company's Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) scorecard points. B-BBEE is a critical policy in South Africa aimed at fostering economic transformation and empowerment. Companies that achieve a higher B-BBEE score may gain a competitive edge when competing for contracts with government agencies and other entities. Learnerships and skills development are recognized as priority elements in the B-BBEE scorecard, and companies can earn points for their contributions in this area.

4. Employment Tax Incentive (ETI)

The Employment Tax Incentive (ETI), commonly known as the youth wage subsidy, is a government initiative designed to provide tax incentives to employers who hire young and inexperienced workers. Employers participating in learnerships may qualify for ETI benefits if they employ eligible learners as part of their program. The ETI helps to reduce the costs associated with hiring and training young employees, making it more appealing for companies to provide job opportunities and skills development to youth.

5. Expenditure on Skills Development

Expenses directly related to skills development, including those incurred in learnerships, can be claimed as tax-deductible expenses when calculating taxable income. This deduction allows companies to lower their overall taxable income, thereby reducing their tax liability.


Learnerships in South Africa not only offer individuals valuable skills and qualifications but also present significant tax benefits to participating companies. By taking advantage of these incentives, businesses can contribute to the development of a skilled and empowered workforce while optimizing their tax position. 

However, it is crucial to stay informed about evolving tax laws and regulations, as they may change over time. 

Explore AFM's NQF6 Learnership: National Certificate in Financial Markets & Instruments

At AFM, we take pride in offering the NQF6 learnership known as the National Certificate in Financial Markets & Instruments. This accredited program, recognized by the Bank SETA, provides a comprehensive understanding of financial markets and instruments. 

If you're interested in learning more about this learnership or wish to inquire about our services, please don't hesitate to contact us at info@academyfm.co.za. We look forward to assisting you on your journey towards personal and professional growth.