Info - National Qualification

Occupational Certificate: Bicycle Mechanic, NQF Level 4, Credits 84


Below is some information regarding the recently registered national qualification for bicycle mechanics in the form of a Q&A.

What was the process followed developing the qualification?


An application was submitted by Torq Zone Academy (TZA) to the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) for the development of the qualification in April 2014.

Industry met and requested the develop of the qualification in March 2015. The industry was represented by:


  • Cape Cycle Systems – Steven le Roux

  • CSA – Mike Bradley

  • CycleLab – Ignis van der Merwe

  • Diepsloot Mountain Bike Academy – Andre Ross

  • Omnico - Lance Schneider

  • Scott Sports Africa – Phillip Erasmus

  • Specialized - Gareth Hitchings & Kevin Benkenstein

  • Torq Zone Academy (TZA) – Graeme Stickells


The qualification was developed in meetings hosted by Wholesale and Retail Sector Education and Training Authority (W&RSETA) in February 2016. The subject matter experts which contributed to the development were:


  • CycleLab – Jason Harley

  • Olympic Cycles – Jason Lind

  • Omnico – Lance Schneider

  • Specialized – Gareth Hitchings

  • The Bicycle Company – Dana Coetzee

  • Torq Zone Academy – Graeme Stickells


Registration of the qualification by SAQA took place on 08 February 2017.


How is the qualification structured?


The Occupational Certificate: Bicycle Mechanic, NQF Level 4, Credits 84 is the parent qualification, but it has two part-qualifications




  • Parent – Bicycle Mechanic, NQF Level 4, Credits 13 (stand-alone)Learning covered relates to workshop management including; advanced understanding materials, consumables and componentry, and leadership, managerial and supervisory skills.


The qualification, and each part-qualification, have 3 modules, namely a:


  • Knowledge Module

  • Practical Skills Module

  • Work Experience Module.


How is the qualification achieved?


A learner can do the full qualification, or staggered in terms of the part-qualifications starting with the first part-qualification


The following modules are first completed at TZA:

  • Knowledge Module

  • Practical Skills Module


The learner then completes the Work Experience Module at an accredited workplace. Work places are accredited via an MOU with TZA. Learners will be provided with a log book of tasks that need to be completed in the work place, and which is signed off by a supervisor.


The leaner then completes an External Integrated Summative Assessment (EISA) at an assessment centre appointed by W&RSETA. This person/body may be the initial accredited training provider.


What is an NQF Level?


All nationally registered qualifications are pegged at an NQF Level. The NQF Level is an indication of the level of learning complexity required to achieve the qualification. The NQF has ten levels.


The Occupational Certificate: Bicycle Mechanic is pegged at NQF Level 4, the same level as the National Senior Certificate, more commonly known as Matric.


What is a Credit?


In context of the NQF a credit is an indication of the notional hours that the average learner would take to be found component in the learning outcomes of the qualification.


One credit is equal to 10 notional hours of learning. The Occupational Certificate: Bicycle Mechanic has 84 credits which translates therefore to 840 notional hours, or roughly 4 months.


This may sound like a long time but bear in mind that this is for the full qualification and that the allocation includes the Knowledge, Practical Skills, and Work Experience Modules.


What are the benefits of having a nationally registered qualification?


  • Parity of esteem with other occupations.

  • Recognition of learning achievement.

  • Articulation and portability of learning.

  • Standardised training, and learning assessment.

  • Consumer confidence and peace of mind.


Is TZA accredited to offer the qualification?




As of 30 November 2017 TZA has been accredited by the QCTO to offer the qualification for a period of five years. Our QCTO accreditation number is SDP1220/17/00408.


Essentially this means that the bicycle mechanic training programmes that the TZA offers meet the accreditation criteria of the QCTO, and are aligned to the learning outcomes of the national qualification.

TZA will be implementing the qualification within the first quarter of 2018.


What still needs to be done in order for learners to achieve the qualification?

The EISA and RPL toolkit still need to be developed by the industry. The W&RSETA will lead a process to develop the EISA and RPL toolkit which should be finalised within the first quarter of 2018.

Do practicing mechanics need to attend classes to achieve the qualification?

Practicing mechanics includes previous TZA learners, and those that have not attended training at TZA.

Practicing mechanics can achieve the qualification through recognition of prior learning (RPL) which provides for entrance to achievement of the qualification.

An RPL toolkit will be developed which will assist the candidate. Depending on verifiable evidence collected by the candidate, the candidate will either need to complete the whole class work, parts of the class work, or may proceed directly to the IESA. 

This implies that practicing mechanics should start assembling a portfolio of verifiable evidence.


What avenues of learner funding will be available?


Besides the conventional funding avenues multi channels of funding through the Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) will be available. These include:


  • Mandatory grants

  • Discretionary funding

  • Learnership grants


Mandatory Grants facilitates a reimbursement to training expenses of up to 20% of the organisations Skills Development Levy (SDL) contribution.


The organisation must do three things to qualify for reimbursement:


  • Contribute towards the SDL

  • Be registered with the SETA

  • Submit a yearly Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) and Annual Training Report (ATR)


Discretionary funding is unclaimed or special funding allocated to the SETAs.


This funding is applied for, and allocated by the SETAs, at their sole discretion and is available as a:


  • Mandatory Grant – 20% of the organisations 1% SDF contribution

  • Pivotal Grant – 49% of the organisations 1% SDF contribution.


Learnership grants are a structured learning programme which leads to the achievement of a national qualification during which the learner spends some time learning theory and some time learning practical skills in the workplace.


Before the programme is implemented, a contract is drawn up by the organisation, the learner and TZA. Each agrees to specific conditions and the contract protects all parties for the duration of the programme.


Learnerships are subject to availability on the condition that the learnership address a scarce skills in the sector.


Organisations with a total pay to all workers of less than R500,000 are exempt from paying the 1% levy towards the SDL.


Should organisations wait for provider accreditation before sending learners for training?


It is strongly recommended that organisations not wait before sending learners for training. Due to the credit value of the National Qualification the courses will be slightly longer and therefore course fees will be more expensive.