Southern Africa: Project Siyakhula
Equipping talented students with financial literacy skills
Project Siyakhula—“we are growing”—is a program designed to provide accounting lessons and educational assistance to disadvantaged students in secondary schools. The program began in 1998, when trainee accountants from Deloitte Southern Africa resolved to make a difference in the education and development of students in the city of Pretoria by providing Saturday morning accounting lessons to students at disadvantaged schools. Building upon the initial success of the program, it has been taken to scale across the country and, today, is active in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Kwa-Zulu natal, Pretoria, and Johannesburg, reaching over 400 students per year.
A 2008 report by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants showed that South Africa’s financial management and auditing sector has a shortfall of 22,000 qualified accountants. By promoting awareness of the accounting profession and preparing young people to undertake further accounting studies, Project Siyakhula helps to bridge the gap between young people and the needs of the professional services sector, as well as contributes directly to deepening the pool of talented workers in the sector.
Today, more than 200 volunteers from Deloitte Southern Africa teach accounting and mathematics to students in grades 10, 11, and 12. They also provide career coaching based on their own professional experiences and offer guidance on soft skills such as problem solving, motivation, decision making, and self-awareness.
Teachers at the participating schools select exceptional students who have a real interest in pursuing a career in accounting and are committed to improving their academic performance. The project affords the students an opportunity to increase their knowledge and understanding of the topics which make up the foundation of accounting.
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"I believe that the personal contributions each Deloitte person makes by donating time, sharing intellectual capital, and leading by positive example makes a huge difference to the people with whom they interact. I was one of the founding members of Project Siyakhula in the Pretoria office. It is good to see that we now have hundreds of Project Siyakhula students across South Africa being tutored in mathematics and accountancy at high school level, which ultimately ensures that they will be better equipped to enter university."
– Grant Gelink, CEO, Deloitte Southern Africa