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A Guide to the QCTO

Staying up to date with changes that affect the training and development industry is critical for both training providers and organisations. Adapting your processes in response to the ongoing development of technology, regulations and best practices will help you remain competitive and deliver high-quality training programs that are in line with expectations. 

Currently, all the buzz has been generated around the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) regulations and how they will potentially affect training going forward. In this article, I will cover the key aspects of the QCTO that I believe you should be aware of, whether you are a training provider yourself, or an organisation searching for a competent facilitator.

What is the QCTO?

The Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) was established to provide quality assurance for trades and professional qualifications in our country, taking over from the Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs). They are responsible for registering occupational qualifications and part qualifications on the NQF framework, and then governing the quality assurance processes for these qualifications. 

Simply put, the QCTO ensures that training and qualifications meet quality standards and that our country can support and benefit from the necessary skills development.

Which Legislations Guide the QCTO?

The QCTO operates within a framework of legislation and policies that guide its operations and ensure the quality of skills development in South Africa, outline the processes and standards for assessing learners, recognise their prior learning and experience, and ensure the integrity and accuracy of assessment outcomes. 

These key legislations include:

  • National Qualifications Framework Act 67 of 2008
  • Skills Development Act 97 of 1998
  • Occupational Qualifications Sub-framework Policy
  • Article 29(3) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, Act No.108 of 1996
  • Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Policy
  • Assessment Policy
  • Approval of Results Policy
  • Guideline for e-assessment. 

Finally, the QCTO quality standards for qualifications and part qualifications registered on the OQSF set out the minimum requirements for the development, delivery, and assessment of occupational qualifications in South Africa.

How Does the QCTO Affect Learning and Development?

Selecting a Skills Development Provider

When choosing a SDP, you must consider their assessment and moderation practices. 

According to the QCTO, accredited providers must conduct the following assessments:

  • Internal assessments of the learners’ performance for each module of the curriculum, recording the summative assessment according to the QCTO’s direction.
  • Competency assessments in the workplace following the learning programme to be signed off by a supervisor or mentor.
  • Internal assessment by SDPs, moderating at least 25% of the final internal assessments conducted.

Organisations should choose a SDP who follows these practices to ensure learners receive the necessary skills and competencies.

Responsibilities of the QCTO in accreditation

The QCTO plays a crucial role in the accreditation process for SDPs. Their responsibilities include:

  • Evaluating and verifying the information provided in the SDP’s application
  • Deciding who should get accreditation
  • Maintaining a database of accredited SDPs

To assist SDPs with the accreditation process, the QCTO provides criteria and guidelines on their website. The turnaround time for accrediting SDPs can vary, with an average of 90 working days for applications related to occupational qualifications, and 40 working days for recorded trades and NATED report 190/1 (N4-N6 programs) part qualifications. 

By fulfilling these responsibilities, the QCTO will ensure that all accredited SDPs meet the necessary standards to deliver quality education and training.

Modes of delivery and training at various sites

The world of education and training has seen significant changes as a result of rapid technological advancements. These advancements have enabled greater access to learning through the flexibility of content delivery across devices.

The QCTO has thankfully recognised the importance of accommodating these different modes of delivery and has introduced a system to accredit SDPs to deliver occupational qualifications via face-to-face, blended learning, and distance delivery. 

Acknowledging this, blended learning does have specific additional requirements, which are outlined in the eLearning Policy and Guidelines Mobility of training is also allowed, however, SDPs must notify the QCTO at least one month before training learners at a new venue.

Duration of accreditation

The duration of accreditation for an SDP is valid as long as the provider:

  • Adheres to the accreditation criteria
  • Maintains the quality standards set by the QCTO
  • Registers the qualification for which they are accredited 

Annual self-assessments and QCTO monitoring will also be required processes and the SDP will only be de-accredited according to Section 12 of the policy. It’s also relevant to note that if an accredited SDP has not enrolled and exited learners on an occupational qualification for three years, they will also be de-accredited and removed from the QCTO list of accredited SDPs.

Extending or amending the scope of accreditation

The “Extension of Scope” section outlines the process for extending or amending the scope of accreditation for an SDP, which includes adding or removing occupational qualifications or part qualifications from the SDP’s scope, as well as changing the SDP’s address. 

The QCTO will only grant an extension of scope if the SDP meets the institutional compliance requirements and programme delivery readiness requirements for the qualification applied for. They may also amend the scope of accreditation granted if they can prove their failure to comply, or if the SDP themself requests to remove qualifications from its scope of accreditation.

The QCTO will extend the scope of accreditation for a maximum of six qualifications, including part qualifications, if the SDP can prove its ability to deliver quality training for each additional qualification added to its scope. 

Ensure QCTO Compliance by Choosing Summit as your SDP

As an accredited training provider and facilitator, we have established our assessment and moderation practices, aligning them with the QCTO’s requirements. We are committed to delivering high-quality training programs that meet the industry’s changing demands while maintaining and upholding our accreditation criteria. By choosing Summit as your training facilitator, you can trust that we meet the QCTO’s requirements, guaranteeing that you will receive a training program that provides learners with the necessary skills and competencies needed to make your organisation succeed. Get in touch with us!