Expiry dates on certificates is always an issue.
Expiry date does not mean that, after that date, you do not have that qualification or credits anymore. The term expiry date should actually rather be “refreshing date” or “review date”. The purpose of expiry date is only to ensure that whoever completed that qualification stay up to date with the latest changes in legislation, regulations, procedures, processes, etc. With refresher training you do not get a new qualification, unless the unit standard changed for that qualification. You can never lose your qualification and credits. The question is then not per se if the person does have a qualification but if the content of that qualification is still relevant.
As an example, as the author of this information document, I have completed a B.Proc degree as well as a Diploma in Theology, but because I have received it many years ago, the SETA’s do not want to recognise the relevancy of it. They acknowledge that I have completed those qualifications, but, due to the years passed, it was not relevant anymore. I am still in the ministry full-time with more than 25 years experience, and still the relevancy of my qualifications was not accepted. It was suggested that I take some sort of updated courses. Thus you do not lose your qualification(s), but, due to a lot of changes that took place over years, the question will always be if it is still relevant. If one passed matric 20 years ago, it cannot be taken for granted that one will pass it today. It is almost certain that one would have to invest in some refresher courses to stay up to date with the changes in the curriculum.
There are several reasons (one of which I have already mentioned above) why expiry dates (or refresher dates) are necessary:
(1) All unit standards (which are what a qualification consist of) expire every three years. When a unit standard is due to expire, SAQA takes the contents of the standard under review to test if it is still relevant and in line with current trends and legislation. If the unit standard proves to be relevant, it will be extended for the next 3 years. Should it be outdated, the unit standard will be replaced by a new unit standard and render the old one as obsolete. Once again this does not mean that one loses that qualification. You still keep your qualification but it will be outdated and not relevant anymore. For example, if you were trained under unit standard 123, but the new unit standard is 127, the relevance of your training certificate would be questioned.
(2) Refresher training is something that also has been written in the OHS Act, especially in certain Regulations. The NCOP of the Driven Machinery Regulation clearly states that for lifting machinery, the operators must be retrained every 2 years. They do not have to receive a new certificate (although that is the trend of all service providers) but must be declared competent every 2 years. In other regulations, such as the Asbestos; Hazardous Chemical, Lead; Noise Regulations; etc., the Law will clearly state that refresher training must be done. In fact, some of them will even say at least once a year.
(3) The third reason has to do with the view or intent of Government. Our Government has said on many occasions that people need to undergo refresher training in order to stay competent and up to date. For this reason CPD points were developed that have the same intent – keeping the competent people up to date.
The SETA will cannot determine refresher training or expiry dates and that is why you will not find that SETA’s such as CETA, HWSETA, etc. will not have expiry dates on their certificates. Refresher training is the responsibility of oneself, the employer and of good service providers that want to positively invest into their clients.
The purpose of a SETA is only to oversee the quality of training and training providers. It is their responsibility to oversee that the service providers keep with the standards of the NQF Act as well as that of SAQA and the unit standard. It is then also their responsibility to verify that a service provider has given a student quality training in order for that student to receive the qualification registered with them. The unit standard is compiled by SAQA, not SETA.