Skills Development Providers for Foundational Learner Competence

How to apply for a trade certificate

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Qualifying a skilled and capable workforce since 2010

Services for


Choosing a career or trade


Modern careers require creativity, critical thinking, interpersonal skills, writing ability, presentation skills and negotiation skills. Crafting and presenting a reasoned argument, asking the right questions and seeking out the answers are the types of skills that must be taught in combination with any sort of technical education.

The fourth industrial revolution (FIR) is upon us in South Africa and as the working class of this economy we need to start adjusting to the coming change. The FIR has also impacted the QCTO in the development of Occupational Qualifications, in that we have identified up-and-coming and trending jobs that will ensure individuals stay relevant with skills that are needed for the FIR.

These Occupational Qualifications are customised and responsive to the needs of the economy.

They are aligned with the latest developments in respective industries and developed hand in hand with industry professionals who can identify the tasks to be performed and specify what the occupational profile should look like.

Industry input ensures that the curriculum meets the quality criteria of relevance and responsiveness and equips the learner or individual with work-relevant skills and practical training. There is a growing concern about the increasing number of graduates who are unemployed, mostly relating to  a lack of work experience. The Occupational Qualifications are divided into three components, theory, practical and a work-based component which will allow the learner or individual to gain this important experience and empower them to be ‘work ready’.

The QCTO has developed more than 300 Occupational Qualifications. Our useful Career Booklet (below) identifies and outlines some of the Qualifications that are in demand and others that are scarce. Details of possible industries and employers for each Occupational Qualification are also included for ease of understanding and planning a career.

In accordance with the Bill of Rights, every citizen has the right to choose their trade, occupation or profession freely. The QCTO’s role is to ensure that there are occupational qualifications that respond to skills development priorities of the country.

And when you look at our comprehensive (and growing) list of full- and part-qualifications, we’re sure you’ll find career options that you never even knew existed.

Occupational Qualifications Career Guide      Trades and Occupational Qualifications FAQ      Registered Occupational  Qualifications  

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Skills Programmes

Certification FAQs

Process of obtaining a Trade Certificate

How to apply for a Trade Certificate

EISA Assessment Process

Choosing a skills development provider

Complaints about an SDP

SDPs for Foundational Learner Competence

Foundational learning competence framework

Process of obtaining a Trade Certificate

In order to be issued with a Trade Certificate, the learner must have completed and passed a Trade Test at an accredited trade test centre.  To register for a trade test please contact your nearest accredited trade test centre. They will explain the processes and procedures to follow.

Choosing a skills development provider or an accredited assessment centre

Once you’ve chosen what you want to study, it’s important to do your homework before you register for a qualification. Some training institutions do not offer NQF registered qualifications,  and employer are reluctant to hire people who have qualifications that are not accredited.

You also need to find out the accreditation status of the training institution itself. If they do not feature in the lists of QCTO-accredited SDPs or Trade Test (Assessment) Centres below, you may contact us to enquire if your institution of choice is indeed QCTO-accredited (they may be newly-qualified), as well as the courses or qualifications they are accredited to offer.

Contact us on (012) 003 1800 or [email protected]

Complaints about an SDP

Learners should try to resolve an issue with their SDP through their internal complaints systems. Nevertheless the learner can still send a complaint to the QCTO through [email protected].

Foundational learning competence framework

Skills Development Providers for Foundational Learner Competence

The Foundational Learning Competence Framework (FLC) is an integral component of the new QCTO occupational qualifications.

The QCTO's qualification design approach includes knowledge, practical and workplace experience components, as well as the FLC, to obtain an Occupation Certificate at the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Levels 3 and 4. The FLC was developed to replace what was previously known as the "fundamentals" in the legacy qualifications or historically registered qualifications.

FLC is intended to benefit or improve learners’ literacy and numeracy competencies so that they would better understand the components of an occupational qualification.


Foundational LearningCompetence FrameworkDownloads

When downloading a CSV file of this database be sure to set Microsoft Excel™ to use a 'comma' as a delimiter.

How to apply for a trade certificate


  • Trade certificates: for trades recorded on the National Learner Records Database of SAQA, but without associated occupational qualifications.
  • Occupational certificates: for learners who have proven competence against occupational qualifications or part-qualifications, including occupational qualifications for listed trades.


The Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) was established in terms of the Skills Development Act, 1998 (Act no 97 of 1998). Section 26(D) (4) of the Act mandates the QCTO to issue a Trade Certificate to any person who has successfully completed a trade test, stating that the person is qualified to perform the trade specified on the certificate.

The QCTO took over the certification of trades function from the Department of Higher Education and Training on 1 October 2013.

Trade Certificates were issued in terms of Sections 13 and 28 of the Manpower Training Act, 1981 (Act No 56 of 1981), which was repealed and replaced by the Skills Development Act, 2008 (Act no 97 of 2008).

The QCTO also issues certificates for occupational qualifications, and part-qualifications registered on the Occupational Qualifications Sub-Framework (OQSF) of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF).

Certification Help and Guidelines brochurePROCESS FOR THE ISSUING OF A TRADE CERTIFICATE

When a candidate has passed a trade test, the Trade Test Centre will send the candidate’s documents to the relevant SETA within 5 working days. The SETA will then forward such documents to the National Artisan Moderation Body (NAMB) within 10 working days, who will recommend the issuing of a Trade Certificate for the candidate to the QCTO within 21 working days of receipt of the request. At each point there are a number of quality assurance processes that are followed to ensure that the learner has indeed met the requirements of the relevant trade.

The QCTO will issue a Trade Certificate within 21 working days after receipt of the candidate’s documents from NAMB. Should all documentation be submitted timeously and correctly, the learner’s certificate should be issued within 3 months of trade testing.

The learner’s printed certificate is sent to NAMB for distribution to the relevant SETA and from there to the learner or trade test centre.

Learners must direct all communication regarding their certificates to the centre where the trade test was conducted.


The QCTO is also responsible for the replacement of lost or damaged certificates issued under the Manpower Act. The issuance of such certificates will be according to the Act under which it was issued. No changes to the Section or Act can be effected.

The function of training boards, which included certification, was transferred to the SETAs and therefore applications for the replacement of lost certificates previously issued by a Training Board must be referred to the relevant SETA.

The QCTO does not accept requests for certification from certificate holders. The certificate holders must channel their requests through an accredited assessment centre, INDLELA, or the relevant SETA, through which they trade tested.

For more details see here.

Directives for Certification:
Trades on the NQF
Certification Help& Guidelines BrochureCertification PolicyDownloadsSecurity in Printing Certificatesand Background Paper PolicyCertification 'How-To' infographicQuick Guide - Implementation of Occupational Qualifications

Certification FAQs

  • When is a person recognised as an artisan?

    After s/he has passed a trade test and has been issued a trade certificate.

  • How do I obtain a trade certificate?

    You must apply at an accredited Trade Test Centre to undergo a trade test. Information required at the trade centre is as follows.

    • An application form in the format determined by NAMB.

    • Proof that the applicant has achieved the requirements to undergo the trade test for the listed trade.

    • Proof that the applicant has completed all the curriculum components required for an artisan qualification.

    • Proof of compliance with any medical or legal requirement applicable to the relevant trade as may be provided in any other law or required by a professional body for the listed trade.

    If you have completed an Artisan Recognition of Prior Learning (ARPL) process, you will be required to provide a portfolio of evidence approved by NAMB or you can contact an accredited Trade Test centre with regard to the ARPL process towards entrance to the trade test.

  • I passed my trade test more than 3 months ago and have not been issued with my trade certificate

    Enquire from your trade test centre/INDLELA or the SETA as to when the application for certification was submitted through NAMB to the QCTO. Once the certificate is issued, the learner should collect the certificate from the trade test centre. Do not communicate with the QCTO directly.

  • I lost my trade certificate. Where can I go?

    You can apply for a replacement certificate through your trade test centre/INDLELA or SETA. You will need to submit the following.

    • A completed application form

    • Proof of payment of the relevant fee

    • Detailed affidavit indicating the reason for the request for the replacement certificate and measures taken to locate the lost document

    • Copy of the lost certificate (if available)

    • Certified copy of your ID document or passport

    • Copy of the trade test report that informed certification (if available)

  • I have lost my trade certificate which was issued by a SETA or Training Board prior to October 2013. Where can I obtain a replacement of my trade certificate?

    You can apply at the SETA for the replacement by submitting an application and detailed affidavit as to the reason for applying for a replacement certificate, together with a copy of your ID. The request will be processed by the SETA and forwarded to NAMB for recommendation to the QCTO for issuing of a replacement certificate. This should not take more than 6 weeks to finalise.

  • I have lost my Occupational Certificate, where do I apply for a replacement?

    You can apply at the QCTO by sending an email for the replacement of your Occupational Certificate. You will be required to complete an application form and a detailed affidavit as to the reason for applying for a replacement certificate, together with a copy of your ID. The requestor will be requested to pay the replacement fee. An application for a replacement of an Occupational Certificate can be submitted to [email protected].

  • My certificate has been damaged. What should I do?

    Return the original damaged certificate to the assessment centre or relevant SETA and request a re-issue of the certificate.

  • I need a translation of my trade certificate from Afrikaans to English

    The QCTO assists with the translation of the certificate by issuing a letter of translation. There is a minimal fee payable for this service. The certificate holder must request the QCTO directly for the translation. Requests should be emailed to [email protected] - indicating ‘Translation request’ in the subject line - together with the following documents.

    The completed application form forwarded by QCTO after determining that this is the correct process to follow

    1. Submit proof of payment
    2. Attach a certified copy of the trade certificate to be translated
    3. Attach a certified copy of their ID document
    4. The completed translation letter will be forwarded to the requester via email and the original letter can be collected from the QCTO offices, per arrangement.
  • I have not received my N3-N6 or N Diploma certificate or have lost my certificate. What should I do?

    Umalusi issues the N3 certificate. Submit enquiries to [email protected].

  • There is an error on my issued trade certificate. What should I do?

    Should there be a spelling mistake or incorrect qualification/trade on your issued certificate, return the original certificate to the assessment centre and/or relevant SETA and request for a correction of the certificate.

    Note: The original certificate must be returned to the QCTO before the certificate can be re-issued.

  • I have changed my personal information with the Department of Home Affairs or got married. Can I get a trade certificate that reflects my new personal information?

    The QCTO does not change personal information on an issued certificate. The certificate is issued based on valid information at the time of issue. The learner must submit a copy of the relevant documentation from the Department of Home Affairs and a copy of the relevant Gazette, if applicable, when submitting the certificate as evidence that the certificate belongs to them.

  • My ID number was changed by the Dept. of Home Affairs as I shared an ID number with somebody else. Can my trade certificate be changed to reflect my new ID no?

    Only in the event that there is evidence that there was a Home Affairs error that was corrected will the certificate be changed.

    Contact the assessment centre or relevant SETA to make application for the change to be effected on your behalf. The following will be required.

    1. Return of the original certificate with your application to the assessment centre or SETA as the QCTO requires the original certificate to be returned with the application before a new certificate is issued
    2. Completed application form
    3. Proof of payment of the relevant fee
    4. Certified copy of both IDs – the old ID and the new ID
    5. Certified copy of the letter from Home Affairs indicating that the change was effected due to a Home Affairs error
  • Is the QCTO responsible for registering and evaluating foreign trade qualifications?


    The QCTO does not evaluate foreign qualifications. Please contact the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA)

  • Can I change the section of the Act on my trade certificate, from Section 28 issued under the Manpower Training Act to Section 26D under the Skills Development Act?

    The section on the certificate cannot be amended as the certificate was issued in terms of the relevant Section and Act in force, or applicable at the time of completion of the trade test.

  • I require a verification/authentication of my trade certificate for emigration purposes.

    The embassy will require an apostille to be issued by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO). DIRCO requires a letter of authentication issued by the QCTO for this process. The applicant can apply directly to the QCTO [email protected] for a letter of authentication. A minimum fee is payable for this service. For more information and assistance, please email [email protected].

  • I require documentation for submission to a foreign qualification evaluation authority

    Generally, the foreign qualification authority requires that the documentation be submitted directly from the QCTO to their offices. The learner cannot submit the documentation. To apply, please submit a request for evaluation to [email protected] indicating ‘Qualification Evaluation’ in the subject line for further information. There is a minimal fee payable for this service.

    The learner must arrange for the documents to be couriered from the QCTO to the foreign qualification evaluation authority – this is not included in the fee payable to the QCTO.

Queries related to certification should be forwarded to [email protected].

Recognition of Prior Learning Implementation GuidelineRecognition of PriorLearning PolicyDownloads

EISA Assessment Process

EISA - a single, national assessment leading to the awarding of an Occupational Certificate - is an integral and critical component of QCTO’s quality assurance system. It ensures that the assessment of occupational qualifications, part-qualifications and trades is standardised, consistent and credible.

This assessment of a learner’s achievements (knowledge, practical and work experience) is conducted by an Accredited Assessment Centre*, which identifies, gathers and interprets the information against the required competencies in a OQSF-registered qualification or part-qualification.

*A centre accredited by the QCTO for the purpose of conducting EISA for registered occupational qualifications or trades.

Details on EISA



012 003 1800


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