Updated hairdressing trade test procedures & requirements

This article is about new process / requirements for hairdressing trade test applications.
Important links:Find available dates here. Contact our head office here.

On 13 Dec, the Services SETA issued a letter to all hairdressing stakeholders. It outlined the changes in hairdressing trade tests.

In this article:

  • The outgoing system
  • The new system
    • New “Section 13” trade test procedures
    • New “Section 28” trade test procedures
  • How to apply

The outgoing system

Previously, the industry was served by two type of trade tests – but people still refer to this.

  • Section 13 trade tests: These were for those who followed the formal route at an accredited college, and finished their NQF 2, 3 and 4 Hairdressing qualifications.
  • Section 28 trade tests: These were for people with many years experience and no formal qualifications. If they could prove 5 years of experience, they could take a trade test.

Previously, trade tests were free, and run by the Services SETA.

The new system:

Since 2014 – it works like this:

“Section 13” trade tests

Trade tests are no longer free. The applicant will be required to pay a fee to the trade test centre – according to that centre’s rates.
[Available trade test dates]

These are the requirements in order to apply

  • Proof of completing the 3 NQF qualifications (NQF 2, 3, 4)
  • College statement of results
  • Apprentice contract / or other 4-party agreement (e.g. learnership)
  • Formal and informal logbook
  • ID
  • Service letter from the employer
  • Any other tertiary qualifications

While these changes were being implemented, trade tests stopped for a long time. They are now back online and trade test centres are testing again.

“Section 28” trade tests

This route will now be called “RPL for access to a trade test”
[Available trade test dates]

  • RPL stands for Recognition of Prior Learning)
  • The application will be done with an RPL toolkit.
  • The RPL toolkit has 3 components:
    • Knowledge: Applicants will complete a theory test
    • Practical: Applicants will complete a practical test
    • Workplace: Applicants will prove 4 years of work experience
  • If somebody lacks any of these components, they will be referred to a college to complete gap training.

This process is far more intense than the previous one.

How to apply for your hairdressing trade tests

In order to apply, see your regional office of the Services SETA.

Use this page to request info – or Go to the SETAs web site to find their contacts.

If you’re struggling to find information, we may be able to assist.  Send us a message here and we will help you in the right direction or share the latest info.



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