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Frequently asked Questions : Professionalization

In case some of the concepts of professionalisation are too foreign, we've compiled some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). Look through the FAQ below and hopefully your burning question will be answered. If not, don't worry, you're welcome to drop us a line and we'd be happy to assist!

What is a professional designation?

A professional designation is an officially recognised 'title' that is given to an individual working within a specific sector who has proven that they meet a specific set of criteria, including qualification, experience and expertise, and is designed to indicate the individual's level or standing in that sector.

What is the difference between a designation and a qualification?

A qualification is something that is issued to you by a recognised education institution, i.e. university, and that can never be taken away from you, irrespective of how long ago you achieved that qualification. A designation on the other hand is your professional status and is dependent on you maintaining the currency of your knowledge through the accumulation of the minimum required Continuous Professional Development (CPD) points.

Do I have to apply for the designation that matches my level of experience?

The minimum experience and qualification levels are set and you must at least meet these in order to apply for the specific professional designation. However, if you meet the criteria for level two, for example, but only wish to apply for level one, this is possible.

Can I stay on one designation level forever?

You are not compelled to move up the designations and can remain at a single level providing you at least meet the Continuous Professional Development (CPD) requirements and maintain your good standing. It is suggested however that you utilise the opportunities for professional development to raise your credibility through progression of the staffing designations.

Can I use my professional designation on my business cards and email signature?

Yes. You may use your professional designation (or the official abbreviation) for as long as you maintain your designation.

How should I maintain my Professional status?

By obtaining the required qualifications, signing and abiding by the Code of Ethics, paying your annual registration/subscription fees and maintaining the currency of your knowledge through the achievement of the minimum required Continuous Professional Development (CPD) points.

What learning material is covered in the APSO Entrance Exam?

The APSO Entrance Exam will form a solid induction course, particularly for those labour recruitment consultants working in an SME environment where they are expected to be revenue-generating almost from day one. The main aim of the exam is to ensure sufficient knowledge to promote ethical, compliant and professional recruitment services from all consultants working for an APSO member company.

Each learner is provided with comprehensive course material that is available online on the e-learning portal. The course covers the following:

Module 1
The Recruitment Landscape
  • Overview of the History of labour recruitment industry
  • Changes in labour recruitment industry in South Africa over the years
  • Roles of the stakeholders including ILO, CAPES, APSO etc
  • Role of ISP and importance of professionalisation in the industry
  • Global recruitment practices
Module 2
The Recruitment Puzzle
  • Different aspects of recruitment
  • Role and responsibility of a recruitment consultant
  • Benefits of using a recruitment consultancy
Module 3
  • Importance of ethics in the business environment
  • APSO Code of Ethical & Professional Practice
  • Application of ethical practice within labour recruitment industry
  • Managing ethical dilemmas
Module 4
Labour Legislation
  • Constitution & Bill of Rights
  • Labour Relations Act
  • Basic Conditions of Employment Act
  • Unemployment Insurance Act
  • Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act
  • Employment Equity Act
  • Skills Development act
  • Immigration Act
  • National Credit Act
Module 5
Applying the Law
  • Effective advertisement within scope of current legislation
  • Interview (legally) for success
  • Fair assessment of applicant skills, aptitudes and personalities
  • Reference and verification checks within the law
  • Database management within scope of current legislation
  • Candidate management
Module 6
The Perm Recruitment Process
  • What is permanent recruitment?
  • Benefits of utilising a permanent recruitment agency
  • Competencies of a permanent recruitment consultant
  • Permanent recruitment process
  • Managing terms and conditions of business with clients
Module 7
The Temp Recruitment Process
  • What is temporary employment service (TES)?
  • Benefits of utilising a temporary employment services (TES) agency
  • Competencies of a temporary employment services consultant
  • Temporary employment services process
Module 8
Executive Search
  • What is executive search?
  • Benefits of utilizing an executive search consultancy
  • Executive search process
  • Executive search within the scope of the APSO Code
Module 9
Project Management
  • Fundamentals of project management
  • Project initiation, planning and control
  • Project management tools and techniques
  • Process of project scheduling
Module 10
Marketing & Sales
  • Sales and marketing principles
  • Role of sales and marketing in labour recruitment industry
  • Sales and marketing planning
  • Sales forecasting
  • Basic principles of territory planning and marketing
  • Sales and performance analysis
  • For those APSO members who operate within the Healthcare Sector, an
    additional module is available covering Healthcare and the TES.
Module 11
TES in Healthcare
  • TES in Healthcare
  • Why TES assist with recruitment of healthcare professionals
  • Legal framework for practitioners
  • Nursing regulations
  • Regulations for healthcare profession
  • Principles of professional conduct
  • Scope of practice within healthcare profession
  • Batho Pele principles and the rights of the patient
How is the exam structured?

At present the learning material includes a series of self-assessment questions that are completed at the end of each module. These are designed to test your knowledge and provide guidance on areas that might require additional learning before attempting the exam.

At the completion of the entire learning programme, you will undertake an online exam that tests your level of embedded knowledge. You are given 2 hours to complete this exam that is made up of 100 randomly selected questions including True/False and Multiple Choice.

You will have 3-months access to the e-learning platform. You will be able to take the exam at any time of your choice during this period.

You only have one opportunity to write the exam and so delegates are advised to be sure that they’re ready to attempt it.

In order to pass the exam you need to achieve a minimum of 75%.

Once you’ve passed, you will be issued with a Certificate. You will also be entitled to join the Professional Body, and begin your journey to professionalisation including attaining a professional designation and embarking on continuous professional development (CPD).

What is the pass mark?

In order to pass the exam you need to achieve a minimum of 75%. This is higher than the pass mark associated with the previous IPSC exam which was 60%. The increase relates to the improvement of the learning material and the fact that you will be required to have displayed sufficient levels of competence in embedded knowledge to be allowed to practice in the industry.

What happens if I don’t pass on my first attempt?

The e-learning platform only allows a single attempt at the exam. Should you not achieve the required pass rate, you will be required to apply for a re-write.

At present the re-write costs R200 ex VAT per person.

Once you have paid, you will be advised when your login has been re-set to allow for a second attempt at the exam. You will then proceed directly to the exam section, if you feel confident enough to do this, or you can take some time to review the learning material before attempting the exam.

Do I receive a certificate on completion?

Anyone who successfully writes and passes the APSO Entrance Exam will receive a certificate. You will also be entitled to join the Professional Body, and begin your journey to professionalisation including attaining a professional designation and embarking on Continuous Professional Development (CPD).

Is this a qualification?

This is an Embedded Knowledge exam and is not a full qualification. APSO is working towards the development of occupational qualifications specific to the labour recruitment industry. The APSO Entrance Exam should provide sound grounding for recruiters who wish to undertake the industry-specific qualification.

Is the exam accredited?

The exam is not accredited because, as an Embedded Knowledge theoretical exam, it doesn’t meet the unit standard outcomes set for the NQF4 Labour Recruitment learnership.

However, learners who successfully pass this Entrance Exam will receive accreditation by APSO as well as have the opportunity to register with the Professional Body, to begin their career development pathway to designation and future qualifications.

Many corporate clients place great store in membership of APSO for their recruitment agency suppliers and see value in dealing with an individual recruiter who has successfully passed the APSO Entrance Exam and so, whilst it might not have any formal accreditation from SAQA, having the APSO Entrance Exam under your belt will definitely enhance your standing in the marketplace.

What designation can I put behind my name after successful completion?

Unlike the IPSC, that allowed individuals who’d successfully passed the exam to include the designation “AIPSC” behind their name, the APSO Entrance Exam does not do this. This is merely an embedded knowledge component that is required as per the APSO Constitution.

Each designation will have criteria assigned to it and will need to be maintained via Continuous Professional Development (CPD) on an annual basis. CPD ensures that you are “fit to practice” by ensuring that you have currency of knowledge.

Industry designations will be managed by the Professional Body in future. More info will follow in due course.

Who has to write the APSO Entrance Exam?

All APSO members’ staff, who are client- or candidate-facing, are required to write the APSO Entrance Exam within 6 months of joining the company, the industry or APSO.

It is a Constitutional condition of membership and all APSO members are required to ensure that their staff members write and pass the Entrance Exam within the allocated time period. All receptionist, consultants, recruiters or sales executives must write the exam and whilst it is encouraged that you get your whole team, including administrative and financial staff members, to write, it is not compulsory.

What happens if I’ve already written the IPSC exam?

All staffing consultants who have written and passed the IPSC exam will be eligible to register for the Individual Staffing Practitioner designation, however, they will still be required to write and pass the Compliance Questionnaire which is the embedded knowledge assessment. Consultants need to register on

Do I require any fancy downloads and how will this affect my bandwidth?

The e-learning platform requires no downloads as it is Internet based. Learners simply need to visit the website and to have a web browser loaded onto their machine.

The e-learning platform is designed to be used in various settings and so should not unduly affect your bandwith. Your Internet line speed may affect the time it takes to download the pages but this should not negatively affect your learning experience.

Can I do the exam manually?

Unfortunately the exam can only be completed online. However, to cater for individuals who prefer to learn from notes as opposed to on screen, APSO can provide a manual at an additional cost. These manuals have to be ordered through APSO National Office.

Individual Manual

This is a ring-bound manual in black and white that cannot be easily updated in the event of changed material. This would a good option for an individual who wants to have their own manual on which they could make notes/highlight etc.

Costs are based on printing costs and may vary: estimated cost R100 ex VAT.

Why has APSO chosen to go the electronic route?

APSO membership is widely spread across South Africa and under the IPSC system, that involved a face-to-face training session (optional) and a manual written exam, some of our members were disadvantaged.

Technology has been embraced within the learning environment, particularly for continuous professional development. In keeping with global trends and in order to be more eco-friendly, and accessible to as many people as possible, APSO has invested in setting up the PREP system.

Do I need to be an IT guru to use PREP?

The e-learning platform is very easy to navigate and no special IT skills are required. Even someone with relatively low computer literacy will be able to work their way through the learning material and write the online exam.

For any more complex technical queries please contact the support staff from APSO.

Is the learning material available in any other language?

Unfortunately the learning material is only available in English due to the restricted resources available. However, unlike the previous material, the updated learning material has been consciously designed to ensure simple English that will cater for learners who are not first-language English speaking.

Can the learning material be made available to a visually impaired learner?

On request, APSO can make available the learning material in Word format that can be utilized by technology designed to “read” the material for a visually impaired learner. If required, APSO can also arrange for an oral examination for candidates who are visually impaired. For more information contact APSO National Office.

Can I replace a learner with another person in the event that the original enrolled learner leaves my employ?

Due to the fact that each learner is provided with a unique login, it is not possible for APSO to substitute learners. All learners will have to be enrolled individually at the usual cost. APSO suggests that if members are concerned about costs associated with learners who resign during the process, that they cover this within their employment contracts or employee agreement.

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