For the love of numbers

Thandikhaya Mditshwa
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The Ukuthemba Training Programme, offered in George in the Western Cape, culminates in the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) FET Certificate Accounting Technicians. The Fasset-funded programme, managed by S&T School of Accounting, stretches the scope of these projects to an as yet unserviced group sector.

Fasset, through Ukuthemba (which means ‘to have faith or confidence’), offers work readiness training, and builds vocational skills in the format of foundational financial skills (Association of Accounting Technicians NQF 4 financial qualification) to matriculants.

This programme will increase the number of entrants into the financial sector and, since youth unemployment is more crucial and serious among black matriculants, the programme will focus on previously disadvantaged learners.

One such learner is programme beneficiary, Umtata-born Thandikhaya Mditshwa, who says before being taken up in the programme, he was forced to abandon his B Admin studies at the University of Port Elizabeth in 2004 due to financial problems.

“I am glad that I seized the opportunity, despite knowing that it was going to be challenging. By studying and practising, I hope I will acquire the skills needed to be an accountant one day. I like numbers and I could not see myself doing anything else,” Mditshwa explains.

Since employment prospects were poor in Umtata, he relocated to Gauteng, where he found employment as a checker. “I thought I would be able to save some money while working in order to further my studies, but this never happened. Fortunately, the Ukuthemba project came to my rescue,” he says.

After signing up with the programme, Mditshwa’s life changed for the better and he was able to resume his studies when he was accepted onto the Ukuthemba Programme. “Ukuthemba gave me a chance to study.

I associated with the people who shared the same values and goals. English is not my first language. Through soft skills and accounting skills, I have learnt to express myself better.”

In South Africa, annually, labour experts estimate that at least 400 000 matriculants join the lines of unemployed in the country.

These matriculants will join South Africa’s millions of unemployed, partly because schools do not equip them with the skills to cope in the world of work and partly because school leavers with matric and those who leave before completing matric face similar chances of getting employment.

By ensuring that matriculants have an additional skill set to present to employers, the likelihood of finding employment greatly increases. The overall objective of the Ukuthemba Training Programme is to benefit both society and the economy by contributing to the increase in employment of unemployed matriculants.Mditshwa is currently a Management Accounting Trainee at PetroSA.

“I would like to say thank you to all at Fasset, LH Education, S&T School of Accounting and Future Creations for giving me the chance to be where I am today. “Keep helping the youth in order to let them know that dreams can come true, if they work harder.

By investing in the youth, you are lifting the economy of the country because they are the future economists, accountants and entrepreneurs,” he says.

Mditshwa is also very grateful to PetroSA Senior Management Accountant, Christelle Potts. “She is a mother figure to us; without her, it would not be possible for us to be at PetroSA. I am learning a lot from her and her colleagues.

The information I am getting from them will be valuable in my life. “I would also like to share the good news: our contracts have extended to March 2016, and the pay makes me smile,” he concludes.

Carol Butcher

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This edition

Issue 58