AAT(SA) and UJ help bridge gap between education and employment

​​​Johannesburg, Wednesday 30 March 2016 – On 23 March 2016, the South African Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT[SA]) congratulated 65 graduates from the University of Johannesburg (UJ). These students passed the Association’s Test of Professional Competence proving that some University Programmes do help graduates enter the job market with the competence so highly desired in the workplace.

South Africa’s youth unemployment rate is a serious challenge. Some estimates reveal that young people (those under 35) are three times less likely to be employed than those over 35.

Whilst the primary purpose of universities and colleges is to prepare students for a career, not all prepare them for the world of work they will face. In fact very few do so. Many young people are simply unable to successfully enter the job market because they lack experience and skills. In short, employers want graduates who can hit the ground running. Young people face a catch-22 of ‘no experience, no job; no job, no experience’.

In order to overcome this problem, tertiary education must help students bridge the gap between education and employment. This is precisely what the University of Johannesburg’s Department of Commercial Accounting (situated on the Soweto campus) has endeavoured to do.

Preparing UJ’s accounting graduates to exit the institution with workplace competencies and professional membership thanks to a partnership with AAT(SA).

In 2015, AAT(SA) gave the 136 3rd year student studying towards UJ’s Diploma in Accountancy the chance to write the AAT(SA) Professional Test of Competency Exam and qualify for silver AAT(SA) membership. To do so, students had to complete an accredited Diploma in Accounting, have an overall average of 60% for final year modules, and write and pass the Professional Test of Competency exam, which tests the knowledge content on work covered in both the AAT(SA) professional qualifications and their Diploma.

In January 2016, 99 students wrote the Professional Test of Competency exam. 65 students passed and were admitted to AAT(SA)’s Silver Membership.

Speaking at the Department’s Merit and Award Ceremony Nadine Kater, General Manager of AAT(SA),welcomed the 65 new AAT(SA) members by putting their achievement into perspective: ‘In the first year, 1 000 students registered for the Diploma in Accountancy. By third year, there were 700 students. When we approached UJ and joined in a partnership, we wanted to take students who had a pass mark of 60% in Financial Accounting 3 to embark on this programme. As a result, we registered 135 students on the AAT(SA) programme in 2015. 99 of you wrote the Accounting Technician Test of Professional Competence and today, we are pleased to welcome the 65 students who have proven that you can apply this theory in a practical way.’
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