South Africa University Student Portal

What is the National Skills Fund?
The National Skills Fund (NSF) is a fund located within the Department of Labour. The Fund was established in terms of the Skills Development Act, 1998.The Skills Development Act (section 28) stipulates the following objectives for the NSF: “Funds in the NSF may be used only to fund:

  1. Projects identified in the National Skills Development Strategy (NSDS) as national priorities.
  2. Other projects related to the achievement of the purposes of the Skills Development Act as the Director-General may determine.

The Skills Development Act therefore directs and links the work and purposes of the NSF to the National Skills Development Strategy. The current National Skills Development Strategy (2005-2010) contains a number of areas that have funding implications for the NSF. These include

  • Learnerships, Apprenticeships, Internships
  • Adult Basic Education and Training
  • Skills Programmes
  • Bursaries and study support.

Funding Sources for the NSF
The main source of income for the NSF comes from 20% of the skills levies collected in terms of the Skills Development Levies Act. This Act determines that skills levies will be distributed as follows:

  • National Skills Fund = 20%
  • Sector Education and Training Authorities = 80%

Funding Windows of the NSF
The National Skills Fund uses 20% of its levies share to fund primarily projects for skills development as indicated in the National Skills Development Strategy. For ease of management, funding is apportioned to funding windows,with each funding window representing a mandate(s) emanating from the NSDS. For example, the NSDS (2005-2010) mandates the NSF to improve literacy for unemployed people. Pursuant to this mandate, the ABET Funding Window was established. For the period 2005-2010 the following funding windows have been approved:

  1. Social Development Initiatives including the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP).
  2. Adult Basic Education and Training.
  3. Critical Skills Support.
  4. Provisioning Support.
  5. Industry Support.
  6. Informal Sector Support.
  7. Constituency Capacity Building and Advocacy.
  8. Special Projects
  • Promotion of the NSDS
  • Research
  • Supplementary support for disability
  • Promotion of excellence.

9. Discretionary and Innovation Projects
Applications for Funding
Each NSF funding window has its own application process including criteria and eligible applicants. For selected funding windows where criteria require a public application process the NSF will issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) inviting applications.
Projects of the NSF
Some projects of the NSF include the following:

  • Learnership projects implemented in collaboration with SETAs
  • Skills Programmes in support of Social Development initiatives including the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) implemented through the Department of Labourʼs provincial offices
  • Learnership projects implemented with Employment and Skills Development Lead Employers (ESDLEs)
  • Bursaries for undergraduate and post graduate students in scarce and critical skills implemented through the NSFAS and the NRF
  • ABET projects implemented with Department of Education and other providers
  • Strategic projects supporting scarce skills in sector and/or national priorities
  • A Social Plan Technical Support programme implemented with the National Productivity Institute.

Nation Skills FUnd Contact Details
Department of Labour
Laboria House
Cnr Paul Kruger and Schoeman Streets
215 Schoeman Street
Tel: (012) 309 4469/4340
Fax: (012) 309 4048/4050
e-mail: [email protected]
Article by Dept of Labour