The difference between workshops and SETA accredited training

By Janice Giddy of Entecom on 17 February 2017

There is still a lot of confusion in the industry regarding the difference between workshops and  SETA Accredited training.  Companies are often unaware of the benefits of accredited training for their staff. In this article we aim to highlight the differences and provide the benefits of each. Take a look and consider which option will provide the employer, the learner and the food industry at large with the most long term benefits.

Accredited training providers offering food safety short courses have to compete with providers offering non-accredited workshops. Often companies will send their staff on the workshops because these are cheaper and of shorter duration, therefore less time away from work. As a result of this, sadly, many of the private education, training and development (ETDP) providers have decided to drop their accreditation because the cost and resources involved in having to maintain these stringent accreditation requirements are not always valued in the market place.

The Differences



SETA Accredited short courses /
skills programmes


1/2 days to 2 days

2 – 5 days (depending on credit value of course)


To share information from an industry expert regarding a specific topic of interest

To ensure that the learner is able to demonstrate an acquired skill


Usually a print-out of the presentation summarising the main points of the topic presented. Not normally based on unit standards. Some claim to be unit standard aligned.

Defined by normally more than 2 unit standards consisting of more than 10 credits.

Course content has to consist of a learner manual and a workbook (formative assessment completed during class)

Content requirements

No induction moderation of the course content is required prior to delivery

SETA has to conduct an induction moderation to ensure that the course meets the relevant SETA requirements prior to the course being presented


Normally delegates are from mixed background and education levels

Learners are required to complete an assessment prior to attending the course to ensure that they are at the correct NQF (National Qualification Framework) level.


Zero credits

Normally 10 or more credits


No requirements for internal or external moderation

Internal moderations are required for every course intervention, by trained moderators. Exit moderations are conducted at regular intervals during the year by the relevant SETA to ensure that the all learning interventions are quality and industry driven.


No formal QMS system is required to manage the learning process

Documented QMS is a mandatory requirement in order to achieve and maintain accreditation

Assessments /
knowledge test

Assessments or tests are not always completed after the training. Most are knowledge tests. Some providers do require assignments (e.g Internal Auditing courses). If learners fail the test they may be given an opportunity to rewrite the test  or submit the assignment

There has to be a record of formative and summative assessments linked to unit standard specific outcomes and assessment criteria per learner. Learners are allowed three attempts and have to be supported between attempts. There has to be evidence of the support provided to the learner. During the summative assessments learners demonstrate the ability to integrate the theory and practice as well as application in the workplace.


No formal assessment training is required. The presenters normally mark the tests or assignments

Assessors must have completed an accredited assessor course and must be SETA registered. Assessors are to produce evidence of subject matter expertise.  This is verified during Induction Moderations.

Workplace assessments

Not usually performed as part of the workshop training

Skills Programmes require a practical component to ensure that the skill acquired can be demonstrated in the workplace


Delegates receive a certificate of attendance or successful completion (depending on whether they completed a test). No credits are awarded.

Learners who have been found competent receive a certificate of competence endorsed by the relevant SETA. Learners are awarded credits towards a qualification

Personal development

Delegates will attend workshops based on the knowledge required for their job function.

Learners can progress within the NQF framework and continue to accumulate credits towards a full qualification


Mandatory grants can be paid to employers if the Work Place Skills Plan and the annual training report have been correctly completed and submitted in time. Training need not be accredited to qualify for mandatory grants. Mandatory grant payment is not dependant on the training spend but rather on a % of the Skills Development Levies paid by the employer to the DOL

Employers can qualify for mandatory grants as per the workshops, however in addition to this, employers may also qualify for discretionary grants towards accredited skills programme training for their staff.


About the Author:

Janice Giddy is the founder of a training company called Entecom, which is a fully accredited training provider registered with the FoodBev SETA, Fasset SETA and  Service SETA  and supports the food industry nationally.

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