Opportunities: ICAEW's Full Scholarship with MARA and Yayasan Peneraju Opens Doors to Bumiputera Scholars

Published by Afterschool.my on Mar 27, 2024, 03:05 pm

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) mission to work on behalf of public interest and build sustainable economies, has led to the professional organisation advocating for greater leadership around issues covered by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) across all regions in which the ICAEW operates.

Some of these SDGs are often overlooked in favour of issues perceived to be more urgent, including environmental sustainability and food security. However, as stated by the UN, these SDGs are deeply interconnected – a lack of progress on one goal hinders progress on others and in a world of increasing inequality, achieving these goals requires collaborative efforts from governments, organisations, and individuals worldwide.

To ensure that everyone has equal opportunities for personal and professional development especially among the Bumiputera segment, for the past 5 years, ICAEW in partnership with the government agency Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA) and the Yayasan Peneraju Scholarship Fund, has been working towards advancing UN SDG Goal 4: ensuring free, equitable, and quality education; Goal 8: decent work and economic growth and Goal 10: reducing inequalities and progressively achieve greater equality.

The Bumiputera population is estimated at 21.3 million or 63.9% of the 33.4 million population in Malaysia, according to the Bumiputera Statistics 2023 released by the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM). Comprising the majority in certain professions, for example in the healthcare sector, the report showed that 92.7% and 83.8% of assistant medical officers and nurses were Bumiputera, and accounted for 60.8% of land surveyors, 61.5% of quantity surveyors, 52.8% of dentists, and 52.7% of interior designers. However, according to the report Bumiputeras registered lower participation in certain professions, including architecture (41.2%), law (38.2%) and accountancy (31.8%).

With the aim to increase Bumiputera participation in accounting and finance professions through the creation of education opportunities, the ICAEW’s fully funded scholarship programme with MARA will have its first graduates completing the qualification by 2026, whilst Yayasan Peneraju graduates’ exam results significantly exceeded the world average for the past 2 years. There are currently approximately 200 students enrolled in the programme with MARA, with this quota of ICAEW scholars increasing to 70 spots this year, and Yayasan Peneraju quota increasing by 30 spots due to an amazing enrolment success rate. 

According to Herlina Hj Ahmad, Thrust Lead Programme Implementation (Profesional), “Yayasan Peneraju aims to increase the quality, quantity, and relevance of Bumiputera talents in Malaysia, aligning with the nation's goal of becoming a high-income economy. This is achieved through various educational programs spanning academic, vocational, professional, technological, and specialist certification realms. Collaboration with organisations like ICAEW is essential for developing a highly skilled workforce in fields such as accounting. This partnership facilitates the production of certified professionals aligned with national goals, such as producing 60,000 professional accountants by 2030.”

“The underrepresentation of Bumiputeras in professions like accountancy underscores the need for concerted efforts to encourage participation. This partnership with ICAEW plays a crucial role in mitigating this gap by providing educational opportunities and fostering collaborations to promote Bumiputera involvement in key sectors,” Ahmad said, “While stringent entry requirements may limit uptake, they ensure candidates possess necessary skills for the program. The selection process, including assessments and interviews, aims to maintain a high standard of scholars. Ultimately, this helps produce quality candidates sought after by employers.” 

Ahmad Ilham Rushdi Bin Mohd. Amin, a Yayasan Peneraju scholar and part of the 2024 Certificate in Finance, Accounting, and Business (CFAB) cohort expressed, “Becoming a chartered accountant has always been my dream, and Yayasan Peneraju has played a pivotal role in helping me realise it. Through their financial aid and comprehensive approaches like the Nurture & Development Programme, where its scholars are prepped with essential skills, I've am being equipped with the necessary skills and preparation to thrive in the corporate world."

ICAEW is also extending full scholarships to deserving Bumiputera SPM graduates through MARA’s Young Talent Development Programme (YTP), enabling them to attain the ICAEW ACA qualification, leading to recognition as chartered accountants. Ahlam Syah Burham, a MARA YTP scholar, shares, "Today, I am an auditor at BDO Malaysia, a leading firm in the industry. This achievement would not have been attainable without the invaluable support provided by MARA YTP's scholarship program. As a Bumiputera student, MARA's funding empowered me and my friends in the cohort to pursue the esteemed ICAEW qualification, paving the way for a fulfilling career in auditing at a top-tier firm. For Bumiputera students in Malaysia with aspirations similar to mine, a MARA scholarship for the ICAEW qualification serves as the ideal catalyst to realise your ambitions. Just like me, you too can acquire the necessary skills and qualifications to embark on a rewarding career in the dynamic field of finance."

“Among the overarching themes championed by ICAEW is the promotion of greater diversity in the field of chartered accountancy. Encouragingly, we are witnessing tangible progress towards breaking the existing norms,” said Shenola Gonzales, Head of ICAEW Malaysia, “As professionals in accounting and finance engaged in various sectors, we are acutely aware of the negative consequences that arise from not practicing diversity and inclusivity within the businesses and organisations under our guidance and counsel. Taking proactive measures at this moment is making an investment in the future, with the potential to enhance the well-being of many individuals and ensure the long-term economic prosperity and resilience of our businesses.”

To apply or learn more about scholarship opportunities, please visit http://www.yayasanpeneraju.com.my/ and https://www.mara.gov.my/en/young-talent-development-programme-ytp/. Students can also call +603-2171 6022 or email [email protected] for more information.

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