IF you are in matric and dream about becoming a chartered accountant, you have until August 31 this year to apply for one of 300 Thuthuka bursaries up for grabs for those who will start their university studies in 2019.
Most experts will tell you to choose a career that plays to your passions and strengths, and will allow you room to grow, learn and adapt. Few qualifications offer as much scope to succeed as having the CA(SA), the South African chartered accountancy designation. Having a CA(SA) behind your name opens the door to an extensive range of exciting career opportunities in every sector of business and finance within the public and private sectors of South Africa and internationally. The services of CAs(SA) are also increasingly sought after by the public sector and NGOs because of their extensive technical competence, professional standards, and the managerial insights that they acquire during their studies and the practical experience that form part of their training.
In short, because it is a much demanded and scarce-skill profession, CAs(SA) are in constant demand both at home and overseas. This means, once you have qualified, your chances of finding employment are much higher than for many other directions of study
As the custodian of the chartered accountancy profession, the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) plays the leading role in creating a pipeline of aspiring accountants. Yet, the institution knows that for some learners, funding their tertiary studies is a massive obstacle that stands in the way of achieving their career dreams.
For this reason, one of SAICA’s major initiatives is to transform the profession’s demographics and contribute to the economic and social upliftment of South Africa’s disadvantaged youths. This is done through its Thuthuka Bursary Fund (TBF), which focuses on academically-talented African and Coloured Grade 12 learners who wish to become a CA(SA), but who cannot afford to fund their own studies towards a tertiary qualification.
In addition to paying for students’ tuition fees, TBF also provides recipients with full ‘wrap around’ support which includes money for accommodation, books, food and an allowance. Most importantly, there is also non-financial support in the form of study skills training, induction programmes, networking, life skills and emotional support, mentorship and counselling. Recipients of TBF bursaries are also continuously monitored by SAICA’s university programme directors to ensure that preventative action and remedial steps are taken if and when needed.
The comprehensive support, explains Nthato Selebi, Project Director of TBF, ‘has proven to reduce university drop-outs, enhance graduation rates and exponentially improve students’ employment potential.’
This support, agree the more than 500 fully qualified CAs(SA) and around 1 900 aspiring CAs(SA) who are currently completing their studies or training contract thanks to TBF, is the real game changer.
Says Talent Mthiyane, a qualified CA(SA) and former TBF beneficiary: ‘Thuthuka has changed my life!’ Talent adds it alleviated her family’s financial burden of sending her to university. It eliminated most of the anxieties and stress of coming from a school and being in a lecture room with students who were from the best schools in the country and had the brightest minds aided by the best resources. Thuthuka’s constant motivation and support aided our abilities as students and showed us that where we are from does not determine our destiny or how high we can rise.’
CA(SA) Colleen Adams, shares a similar experience: ‘[Qualifying] as a CA(SA) would not have been possible without both the financial and non-financial support that Thuthuka offers. I am yet to hear of another programme that goes to the type of lengths to develop and invest in the potential of individuals who do not have a fair chance in succeeding. The passion and dedication with which this programme is implemented is unparalleled. The fund recognised other needs and support that we, as students, needed on our CA(SA) journey.’
Learners* who wish to apply to TFB 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 (one of which must be the TBF university closest to your home); and
- register and write the National Benchmark Test (NBT).
* Please note that all candidates will be assessed using the NSFAS Means Test to determine financial need.
Apply by visiting www.thuthukabursaryfund.co.za
If you meet the selection criteria:
- you will be required to undergo a rigorous selection, screening and assessment process, during which the TBF university teams will identify possible candidates to study at their institution.
- following the release of the Grade 12 matric results, successful candidates will be contracted and admitted to university as a Thuthuka Bursary Fund student.
If you thought your dream of becoming a CA(SA) would never become a reality because of your family’s financial situation, think again. TBF could be your chance of making your dream a reality.