The Accenture Education Trust (AET) has opened its applications for the 2022 scholarship for students studying technology-focused degrees at selected universities. Accenture believes that the lockdowns of the COVID-19 pandemic have further amplified the explosion of cloud-based technology solutions, and therein lies a significant opportunity for South Africa to build the capabilities of its youth. Through this, the potential of this lucrative industry can be unlocked, at both a local and global level; and provide much-needed skills to support a trajectory of strengthened economic growth. Accenture is offering bursaries to deserving students in a technology-directed study with an average of 65% or higher, which is higher than the NSFAS qualifying threshold.

The overall package for the AET scholarship includes tuition and related expenses such as books, registration, meals, fees, accommodation, and laptops, for the duration of the studies. The scholarship currently covers the following eight universities: University of Pretoria, University of Cape Town, University of Johannesburg, University of the Western Cape, University of the Witwatersrand, University of KwaZulu Natal, Rhodes University and Stellenbosch University. The scholarship also covers postgraduate students – it rolls over to Honours, provided the requirements are met, one of them being an average of at least 65%. This includes students who were covered by NSFAS in undergrad. Zanele Sekano, AET Project Manager, explained that the scholarship is not repayable. Provided that the holder of the scholarship continues within the course initially funded and maintains the pass rate, the scholarship is renewed annually until Honours level.

Sekano said that “2020 brought us a global pandemic that has exacerbated our already fragile state of meagre growth and its consequent social impacts”. She added, “With growing poverty, rising unemployment and persistent inequality severely constraining our prospects of economic recovery, South Africa needs collaborative solutions to help shift the tide in a different direction”.

According to Sekano, beyond the financial support, the scholarship is structured to provide holistic support to students. As a bridge between university and industry, the scholarship helps students create a network with students from other institutions and get an entry into what Accenture does for clients and the technologies that Accenture have developed over the years. Ideally, the primary objective is to have the student join Accenture after their studies and the program supports the preparation thereof. Sekano further said, “There is also an opportunity to start businesses should a student decide to go that route”. Sekano also explained that it is important for South African students to apply because the scholarship provides more than financial support – the immersion into different parts of the Accenture business through the annual two-week vacation program, mentorship program and other skills development offerings are what make this immensely attractive. Due to the growth of cloud-based technology solutions, it is vital that South Africa can build the capabilities of its youth and this opportunity supports these efforts by funding tech-aligned courses.

For more information, students can visit https://www.accenture. com/za-en/careers/local/accenture-scholarships-south-africa and follow the prompts to apply for an Accenture scholarship.

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History, Archaeology and Setswana student at the University of Pretoria. An avid reader and lover of news writing and broadcasting. I have a passion for African indigenous languages and history. A prospective world-class journalist and scholar