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User Guide - Merseta Framework
User Guide
What's in it What's in it
How to use it  How to use it
Glossary  Glossary
Illustration  "Worked" illustration


What's in it?


The Database gathers and organises information relevant to merSETA and skills development in the Sector. Information has been organised around the occupational classification system known as the Organising Framework of Occupations (OFO).
The sheer volume of information available is daunting, and in this Database, we have attempted to streamline and link information useful to stakeholders.


Available information ON THIS SITE

You will be able to find the following:
  • OFO occupations relevant to merSETA [Selected from the whole OFO]

    • ‘streamed’ by sector - an option to view information specific to Auto, or Metal & Engineering, or Motor, or New Tyre, or Plastics
    • occupation purpose - a broad description of essential function and role
    • occupation skills level- a Department of Labour classification of the complexity of the work involved – not to be confused with NQF levels, which relate to complexity of learning
    • key tasks - an indication of typical activities that make up the work of groups and/or occupations
  • SAQA information:
    • related qualifications - registered on the NLRD
    • qualification type (degree, diploma, certificate, etc)
    • unit standards in each qualification (downloadable from the site)
  • OFO qualifications as these become available
  • MerSETA informationspecifically for skills development purposes
    • qualifications related to occupations - quality assured by merSETA (under the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations – QCTO)
    • available learnerships
    • registered trades - the list of Trades, as received from the Department of Labour and with SAQA IDs
    • licenserequirements
    • MerSETA accredited Providers – as listed by SAQA
    • Registered Assessors (link the merSETA site at present)
    • provision for Industry/Sector Curriculum (where available)
    • provision for Industry accepted assessment tools and/or assessment databank (where these are available)
    • Clusters of occupations in learning pathways.
  • Department of Labour information:
    • registered trades;
    • license requirements;
    • Learnerships
  • Accredited Providers; Registered Assessors
  • Clusters of Occupations in learning pathways
  • Feedback and Update facility

Using the Framework Database - A Tutorial

Landing Page


You are faced with a choice...

  • read the latest news 
  • complete the quick survey
  • search the site
  • explore the site to view all merSETA information
  • view only chamber specific information

Ignore the log-in...

  • Ignore the log-in is an advanced feature for registered users.

Read the latest news...

  • View the latest news item
  • Select Previous or next to scroll through the news items
  • Select Subscribe to subscribe to our newsletter

On the subscribe page...

  • Type in your email and press the subscribe button to complete subscription and receive all future news highlights via email.


Complete the quick survey...

  • Please complete the quick survey. This will provide us with the information required to improve the website.
  • Select the survey button
  • Follow online instructions
  • Press submit button


You are able to search for specific information in the database – for example major groups, sub major groups, minor groups, unit groups, occupations and qualifications. The Code and Title will be searched.

Select 'Search in all fields' to search the full database, and select 'Regine search' and choose the specific items to be searched.

Try: 652101

The blacksmith occupation is displayed.


Then choose occupation from the list.

Explore the SITE...

  • Choose "Home" to return to the landing page
  • Choose “Major Groups” to bring up the “Major Group” menu
  • Choose a Major Group – Try Major Group 6: Skilled Agricultural, forestry, Fishery, Craft and Related Trades Workers

Explore further...

Choosing Major Group 6 will bring up the page as indicated:
  • Major Group 6 Skilled Agricultural, Forestry, Fishery, Craft and Related Trades Workers (now in gold print at the top)
  • Descriptors (purpose)
  • Buttons offering:
    1. Descriptors (purpose)
    2. Key Tasks
    3. Sub Major Groups


Sub-major Groups...




A Sub-major Group...

Try - 65 Metal, Machinery and Related Trades Workers




Hover over the Major Group menu item and the Major Group Code and Name will be shown. This will always be the case for the items showing the path followed to the current item.

Select Minor Groups... 

Select - 652 Blacksmiths, Toolmakers and Related Trades Workers



We have stepped from: 

Major Group 6  Skilled Agricultural, Forestry, Fishery, Craft and Related Trades Workers  
Sub-Major Group  65 Metal, Machinery and Related Trades Workers  
652 Blacksmiths, Toolmakers and Related Trades Workers  

Now choose...

A Unit Group... Try: 6521 Blacksmiths, Hammersmiths and Forging Press Workers


Now select the Occupation: 

652101 Blacksmith

The buttons provide access to:

  • Descriptor
  • Alternate titles
  • Chambers
  • Qualifications
  • Registered trades
  • Occupational pathways

Occupational Pathways

Occupational pathways shows other occupations on the same level as the current occupation, and also next level occupations to work towards.

Unit Standards

are attached to qualifications and so are available once the qualifications button has been selected: 

Choosing the “Qualification” button shows the possibilities, one of which is:

  • 64190 National Certificate: Metals Production Level2

If there is a flag displayed next to the registration end date, the flag indicates whether 3 or 1 months left until registration end date, or whether the date is in the past.



...Qualification  64190 reveals the qualification and its pathways, indicating similar qualifications and higher level qualifications.

If there is a flag displayed next to the registration end date, the flag indicates whether 3 or 1 months left until registration end date, or whether the date is in the past.


...the qualification brings up the SAQA registered qualification outline in a separate window.

View Chamber Specific Information...

  • Select 'Chambers'
  • Select the specific chamber
  • Follow the links as per previous instructions to view chamber-specific occupations

Get online support...

  • Select the 'Contact Form' link in the top menu
  • Type in your email and phone number as well as a description of your problem
  • Press the 'submit' button
  • We will respons as soon as possible


We trust that this tutorial proves useful.
Please address any further queries to our Helpline, and we will be happy to assist.


Back to top Return to top

Glossary Information

The following extract is illustrative of information which will be available to end-users. Descriptions to assist a reading of the database follow:

Major Groups

There are 8 Major Groups in the classification system:
Major Groups
Major groups are:
  • the broadest level of the classification system
  • denoted by single digits
  • formed using a combination of skill level and skill specialisation* to create groups which are meaningful and useful for most purposes
*Skill specialisation is defined as a function of the field of knowledge required (subject matter expertise); tools and equipment used; materials  
  worked on, and goods or services produced or provided.

Data collected at the Major Group level will provide only a very broad indication of skill level.

Sub-major Groups

Sub-major Groups are:
  • subdivisions of the major groups
  • denoted by 2-digit codes (the relevant major group code plus an additional digit)
  • distinguished from other sub-major groups in the same major group on the basis of skill level and a broad application of skill specialisation
Each Sub-major Group is made up of a number of Minor Groups that are grouped together with a narrower application of skill specialisation and skill level.

Data collected at the Sub-major Group level does provide an indication of skill level suitable for most analytical purposes.

Minor Groups

Minor Groups are:
  • subdivisions of the sub-major groups
  • denoted by 3-digit codes (the relevant sub-major group code plus an additional digit)
  • distinguished from other minor groups in the same sub-major group mainly on the basis of a more focused application of skill specialisation, with less emphasis on skill level
Data collected at the Minor Group level provides a more satisfactory indication of skill level.

Minor Groups are clusters of a number of similar Unit Groups.

Unit Groups

Unit Groups are:
  • subdivisions of the minor groups
  • denoted by 4-digit codes (the relevant minor group code plus an additional digit)
  • distinguished from other unit groups in the same minor group on the basis of a finer application of skill specialisation and, where necessary, skill level
Unit Groups group together similar Occupations with the same skill level and similar skill specialisations. Data classified at the Unit Group level therefore provides an accurate indication of skill level and can be aggregated by skill level only.

An 'occupation' is defined as a set of jobs that require the performance of similar or identical sets of tasks.


Purpose statements explain the broad focus of the occupations, Unit Groups, Minor Groups, Sub-major Groups and Major Groups, and an indication of their role within organisations.

Skills level

Skill level may be defined as a function of the range and complexity of the set of tasks performed in a particular occupation. The skill level of an occupation increases with the range and complexity of the set of tasks to be performed.

Skill level is measured operationally by:
  • the level or amount of formal education and training
  • the amount of previous experience in a related occupation, and
  • the amount of on-the-job training required to competently perform the set of tasks required for that occupation.
In general, the greater the range and complexity of the set of tasks involved, the greater the amount of formal education and training, previous experience and on-the-job training required to competently perform the set of tasks for that occupation.

Key tasks

A 'job' is defined as a set of tasks designed to be performed by one person for an employer (including self-employment) in return for payment or profit. Individuals are classified by occupation through their relationship to a past, present or future job. Any particular job will typically involve an individual working and undertaking a particular set of tasks.

Quality Assurer

Indicates which of the three main quality assurance bodies – Amalusi, Council for Higher Education, and the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations – or any other body, is involved in quality assurance of learning and assessment.

Qualification Type

Qualification Type refers to the different types of occupational qualifications envisaged, or any other formal, currently registered qualification: Types of Occupational Qualification:

National Occupational Certificate

The National Occupational Certificate is awarded when an occupation title is achieved. National Occupational Certificates will be qualified by designators that include the occupational title and the specialisation or context in which the qualification was obtained. The following examples illustrate this:
  • National Occupational Certificate: Ship’s Master (Harbour Pilot) Level 6
  • National Occupational Certificate: Metal Fabricator (Boilermaker -Mining and Extraction) Level 3
  • National Occupational Certificate: Environmental Health Officer (Health Inspector) Level 5

National Skills Certificate

The National Skills Certificate certifies a distinct but occupationally relevant skills set. The designator describes either the:
  • Occupational skills in the form of a competence linked to the specialisation or context in which the skill set has been acquired (if required), for example:
    • National Skills Certificate: Designing machined products using CAD/CAM software Level 5
  • A specialised occupational role - which is the outcome of the learning and assessment process, for example:
    • National Skills Certificate: Small business establishment Level 2
    • National Skills Certificate: Safety Representative (Chemical) Level 3
    • National Skills Certificate: Six Sigma Black Belt Level 6
The Skills Certificate must consist of at least 18 credits.

Foundational Learning Certificate (FLC)

Foundational Learning Certificate (FLC) certifies competence in English communication and mathematical literacy, with an option for communication in another language where required. The purpose is to equip learners to engage in further occupational learning processes. This certificate will provide access to NQF level 2, 3 and 4 occupational qualifications. It will replace the current requirement for fundamental learning in NQF level 1 - 4 qualifications.

Unit Standards

These are the unit standards registered on the NLRD, and relevant to the particular occupation in question. Please note that some qualifications are ‘non-unit standard based’. Each standard contains a link, which will open the standard in HTML format, in a separate screen.


The development of occupational qualifications and related unit standards will be supported by the simultaneous development of a curriculum. The purpose of the curriculum will be to simplify and strengthen the implementation process of the qualification. The curriculum will provide guidance to the various role players on the content (scope and depth), the learning activities and the assessment guidelines. It will further assist role players in making decisions about access requirements, and articulation from other learning pathways.


The database will provide information on all the accredited providers offering learning opportunities towards part or all of the occupational qualifications. In many cases providers may offer learning towards just one unit standard.


The database will provide information on all the registered assessors able to conduct assessments for part or all of the occupational qualifications. In many cases assessors may assess against just one unit standard.

A "worked" illustration

Towards a merSETA Career Path

The following serves as an illustration of the Framework and how it will provide the information and the links that will inform decisions on corporate and individual skills development.
Worked Example

Career and Learning Pathways illustrated

The diagram on the previous page shows the relationship between Unit Groups on the Organising Framework of Occupations (OFO) and Occupations, in this case:
The Unit Group is “Occupational and Environmental Health Professionals” and has two occupations reflected within that Group:

Environmental Health Officer

This occupation has 2 specialisations listed:
  • Food Safety Auditor
  • Food Safety Officer

Occupational Health and Safety Advisor

Two alternative titles used are:
  • Occupational Health and Safety Coordinator
  • Occupational Health and Safety Officer
This occupation has 2 specialisations listed:
  • Occupational Hygienist
  • Workplace Rehabilitation Officer

Environmental Health Officer and Occupational Health and Safety Adviser are clearly linked on the career path – they are in the same Unit Group. Learning pathways are indicated by the additional competence required to move from one occupation to another. Broader career paths are suggested by movement through the Health Professions.