Ask a career guidance specialist how to improve your likelihood of getting a job and they will tell you to choose a where skills are in short supply. This is precisely what studying towards becoming a chartered accountant [CA(SA)] will open up to you. Not only is South Africa in desperate need of more CAs(SA), talent shortage surveys show that CAs(SA) are among the top ten vacancies that employers have trouble filling. As part of its efforts to fast track the transformation of this profession, the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) provides bursaries to talented African and Coloured Grade 12 learners who wish to become a CA(SA) but do well academically but do not have the financial means to study towards a tertiary qualification. This year, SAICA’s Thuthuka Bursary Fund is offering more than 300 bursaries. Matric learners who wish to apply to be part of the 2018 intake have until 30 April 2017 to apply.
One of SAICA’s primary aims is to help strengthen South Africa’s economy by playing a leading role in transformation and skills development. As part of this mission and to contribute to the economic and social upliftment of South Africa’s youths, SAICA’s Thuthuka Bursary provides more than just money for students to study to become a CA(SA), it provides recipients with full “wrap around” support that reduces university drop-outs, enhances graduation rates and exponentially improves students’ employment potential.
Nthato Selebi, , Project Director of the Fund explains:
‘The Thuthuka Bursary Fund (TBF) model is unique in that it that offers qualifying African and Coloured learners more than just money for tuition, accommodation, books, food and a allowance. Our students receive support, which includes study skills; induction; networking; emotional support; mentorship and counselling; life skills and more. They are also continuously monitored by our university programme directors to ensure that preventative action and remedial steps are taken as and when a student needs them.’
The significance of this support is evident in the tremendous success that the fund has achieved since inception. Launched 13 years ago, the Thuthuka Bursary Fund has produced 350 fully-qualified CAs(SA) – an amazing achievement when you consider it takes a minimum of seven years to qualify. It has also generated more than 900 BCom degrees, 600 honours degrees and 790 trainees,. It is for this reason that former president Kgalema Motlanthe, in his capacity as Chairperson of the HRDC, commended ‘the tremendous results Thuthuka had achieved in expanding access to the field of chartered accountancy’ and urged other professions to implement a similar model in their respective fields.
Of course, the real, long-term impact could best be measured by looking at the lives the fund has changed.
Nangamso Mncwati, a trainee at accounting firm EY, is just one of the more than 3 000 students who Thuthuka has helped to make their the CA(SA) dream come true:
‘TBF funded me when I was doing both my undergraduate degree and honours degree at the University of Johannesburg. Having Thuthuka not only helped me financially but also supported me and my family emotionally when I lost my dad in 2012.’
Nangamso says the overall support was tremendous. ‘Through the fund, I got to meet a lot of amazing people who have inspired me in ways that I could have never imagined. I made friends and built connections through the TBF platforms (such as the mentorship programme) and it taught me not to be scared to break new grounds! For someone who was coming to live in Johannesburg alone, with no family here, TBF became my family away from home. It has inspired me to not hesitate to give back to South Africa, not only monetarily but also in terms of my time. Today, I mentor students at universities, am an ABASA ambassador at work, and am directly involved in other programmes. Thuthuka sure did inspire success in my life!’
Now you have the chance to let TBF be part of your success story.
Applications for 2018 close on 30 April 2017
Aspiring CA(SA) learners who wish to apply for the bursary must:
- Have obtained at least 60% (5 or above on the NSC Scale of Achievement) in Mathematics (NOT Maths Literacy) in Grade 11;
- Be a South African Citizen;
- Be African or Coloured;
- Be in Grade 12 and applied (or be in the process of applying) for a BCom Accounting degree at a SAICA-accredited university offering the Thuthuka programme; and
- Pass a National Benchmark Test (NBT)
If you tick all these boxes, apply in one of the following ways:
- Download the Thuthuka Bursary Fund application form from www.saica.co.za/Thuthuka, complete it and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
- Request an application form by calling 086 107 2422.
What can you expect after you apply?
- If you meet the selection criteria, you will be asked to apply to two of the TBF-approved universities around the country. (One of which must be the TBF university closest to your home.)
- You will then be put through a vigorous selection, screening and assessment process, where the TBF university teams will identify possible candidates.
- Following the release of your Grade 12 matric results, successful candidates will be contracted and admitted to university as a Thuthuka Bursary Fund student.
If you love maths and are dreaming of becoming a CA(SA), this is your chance to make that dream a reality.
Apply today before the applications close on 30 April 2017.