Banking on opportunity
AT(SA) and BANKSETA team up to fight youth unemployment
Employment opportunities are something we all look for. Yet, opportunity is not equally distributed. Here in South Africa, where the unemployment rate currently stands at 26.7%, the real or ‘perceived’ lack of opportunity generates discouragement, discontent and disillusionment.
It is for our youth aged 15-34 that the problem is the most severe. The youth unemployment rate of 38.2% implies that one in every three young people in the labour force is without work.
Even more significant is that due to the lack of opportunities, some of these young people have become so discouraged and demotivated that they are not even seeking to build on their skills base through education and training – these youth are known as the “NEETs” as they are “not in employment, education or training”.
Yet the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) believes that those who have the means to create opportunity have an ethical responsibility to do so. Through its associate: Accounting Technicians South Africa AT(SA), it has created a successful partnership with the Banking Sector Education and Training Authority (BANKSETA), who is committed to empowerment of youth through its various youth development initiatives. They have identified an area in which together they have an ability to create meaningful employment opportunities by addressing the lack of prospects available to the ‘NEETS’.
To fill the void the NEETs are experiencing, the BANKSETA and the AT(SA) have initiated a specific AT(SA) qualification programme that equips candidates with the necessary skills to fulfil entry level accounting positions – specifically in banks.
Considering the large number of entry level jobs in banks, the idea is to give the learners the skills to have a fighting chance at either getting a job, or creating their own. This fosters a sense of personal empowerment and purpose in students.