BRIDGING THE GAP: Bonani Professional provides workplace simulation for Port Elizabeth trainee accountants

BY CHARL BOSCH - AUGUST 19, 2014
It is a well-known fact that without proper training, the chances of you one day getting employed at your dream job, will sadly only remain a dream. Since 2003, Guarantee Trust Corporate Support Service (GTCSS) has run a graduate bridging programme for future accounting hopefuls, called the Bonani Professional Work-Readiness Program.

It is a well-known fact that without proper training, the chances of you one day getting employed at your dream job, will sadly only remain a dream. Since 2003, Guarantee Trust Corporate Support Service (GTCSS) has run a graduate bridging programme for future accounting hopefuls, called the Bonani Professional Work-Readiness Program.

As the name suggests, the programme simulates the actual environment in which the trainee accountants will be exposed to in industry.

The program was started by two qualified accountants, Alan Murray and Kevin Wakely-Smith, with the focus being on the selection, training and placing of graduates from Historically Disadvantaged Individuals (HDIs) into the accounting profession in conjunction with Fassest, who provide funding as well as overall guidance.

So far, the program has trained over 4000 graduates, of which 80% have been placed on a three-year accounting learnership and a further 10% in the industry itself.

Before entering the program, candidates go through a selection process which involves them being deemed suitable for a position in accounting as well as their sense of motivation. Once they are given the thumbs-up, candidates are divided into two groups; the first group will be trained over a period of five months while the second group will be subjected to the same regime over the remainder of the year.

During these five months, candidates earn a range of basic skills required in the workplace such as professional conduct, etiquette, performance techniques and effective communication.

However, what sets the Bonani Professional Work-Readiness Program apart is that candidates are placed in a Virtual Office which simulates actual working conditions and also requires them to prepare actual financial records for real companies over twelve months.

Once in the office, graduates are split into ‘virtual accounting firms’ with a virtual boss across a network with 30 computer workstations. Candidates are then presented with a wide variety of situations that they will likely encounter such as learning VAT calculations, depreciation, the sale, purchase and register of fixed assets for different kinds of businesses.

On completing the Work-Readiness and Virtual Office segments, graduates then work closely with the Placement Officers who will provide assistance in securing employment for the new bookkeepers.

The current phase of the Bonani programme is delivering work-ready graduates to firms in Pretoria, Durban, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and the greater Johannesburg area. For more information, contact Guarantee Trust Corporate Services on 041 365 1456 or visit www.guarantee.co.za.