Member info
Mentorship Programme

Mentorship Programme
SAICA Mentorship Programme

A profession is only as good as the quality of the individual professionals that make it up and, in particular, a shared capacity to work and learn together. And a profession must serve society.

Mentorship Programme 1000x1000

The SAICA Mentoring Programme

We are thrilled to inform you that the SAICA Mentoring Programme is returning again this year. The programme is open to all SAICA members and associates.

We live in a world in crisis. Everywhere people are atomised and divided. We seem to have lost the ability to work collectively and collaboratively as citizens in many spheres of life. Professions have a very important role to play in leading and modelling good practice, open debate and courageous choices.

Over the years SAICA has worked tirelessly to enhance professional development in the accounting profession in South Africa. Academic standards and rigorous technical competencies are fundamental to this. And SAICA recognises that the situation in South Africa and the World means that we need to add different dimensions to professional development. CA2025 identifies new aspects and it asks members to also take a new approach to their development as accounting professionals.

The new dimensions include more focus on aspects such as leadership and digital acumen. And SAICA is also introducing a new approach to continuing professional development – one that meets the challenges of a complex and divided world. The new approach is for members to take ownership of their professional journey rather than focussing solely on meeting set external criteria. Members are asked to proactively assess their own professional development journey and design, with the support of SAICA, bespoke development areas suited to their individual career situation and current capacity. This new approach is an invitation from SAICA to its members to become involved in re-establishing the vitality, reputation and impact of the profession in society; to reaffirm the vital role played by professional accountants in South Africa.

The contexts we work in as professionals are complex and we each take a different route in our career journey after qualifying. Each new work situation, each new client or organisation we work in, presents different challenges – each of which provides a learning opportunity and a potential step in career development. An effective leader makes use of these lessons to build their personal presence and authority. As new more complex and challenging situations are encountered the robust professional is therefore better prepared to challenge any errors, dysfunction or unethical response that they observe.

How can we support members to be more proactive, considered and methodical in this type of professional journey? Ironically, one approach is to simply return to the traditional approach to professional development used by all professional bodies since their inception: mentoring and guidance of junior professionals by more seasoned professionals. Key to the success of the change SAICA is introducing is the nature of mentoring and the culture of mentoring in the profession as a whole.

Since 2017, SAICA has been developing a member-led structured mentoring programme. The programme has evolved over four rounds with new elements being added each time that align more fully with the CA2025 approach.

The elements of the approach are as follows:

  • Members are invited to apply to be mentors and mentees
  • The team selects and matches mentors to mentees based on responses to the application questions
  • Then we provide considerable contact time for all participants

There is some input and content, but the primary intent is to have members engage with each other and learn from each other in live applied practice with reflection and guidance.

Our profession can be enriched by programmes like this – where members have the time and space to convene, learn together and support each other to grow – to build a collaborative professional community once more. Then we can take our place as leaders in our society, as professionals modelling service and integrity in society and supporting a rebirth of active collective citizenship in our society and the world.

Design and approach of the programme

The contact time includes four main training sessions of about three hours each, three skills sessions for mentors which are two hours long and then we have pod learning groups run by former participants called ambassadors. Mentees also receive training as well as their own pod groups. This gives us a chance to begin to develop the capacity in members to take ownership of their own professional development, choose areas for development and ensure that they are clear when contracting with their mentor.

Participation in the programme does require a considerable time commitment but we believe this is key to providing the experience of being in a traditional professional body mentoring culture. Members are invited to participate, guide fellow participants, and contribute to the development of the programme - to influence the approach and norms of the new mentoring culture being established.

What is the role of members in the programme? The programme has been through several iterations since 2017, with programmes in 2019, 2020 and 2021. At the end of each programme we invite participants to become involved in running the programme in the role of programme ambassador, under the guidance of the supervisory facilitators from the Sandton Coaching Centre. These facilitators provide a specialist form of professional development suited to the philosophy of CA2025.

This specialism is called coaching supervision and is based on approaches used in the psychotherapy profession. This approach is not like having a supervisor in the common sense of the word; it is much more a form of mentoring and guidance for practitioners in any professional context, dealing with real world complex challenges involving communication and challenging work relationships.

Ambassadors have further opportunities to develop their skills and professional capacity by being in supervision and learning how to apply this expertise in the development of mentoring programmes and the enhancement of the professional mentoring culture of their own organisations. The specialist supervisors facilitate the role the ambassador members play in designing the programme.

The key element of the programme is the role members and programme graduates play in running the programme and building a sense of community and collaboration. As such the programme also brings back to life the collective professional spirit, the sense of a community of citizens learning together.

Leadership skills are vital to the healthy personal and professional development of chartered accountants who will one day lead others and model ethical professional practice when working in challenging business and political environments. It is important for the profession to find a way of developing and maintaining high levels of professional and ethical capacity in their membership. This is where the mentorship programme comes in.

Developing the level of sophistication and capacity required to be a professional leader is a life-long journey of professional development. Pressurised, complex and fast-moving work environments can be an effective crucible for learning, but they can be seductive spaces for learning bad habits or becoming blinkered to bad practice. Balancing career progression and doing the right thing is a fine art. SAICA has therefore proudly piloted an innovative mentoring programme for qualified CAs(SA) and AGAs(SA) in order to support and enhance their growth and development.

Programme development objectives

The programme has the potential to grow to serve a significant proportion of the SAICA membership. It offers learning for members at all levels, from newly qualified CAs as mentees, to more experienced members who have the opportunity to develop their leadership skills in the role of mentor or programme ambassador. The programme continues to develop and grow each year, with new elements being designed by the facilitators in collaboration with SAICA and programme alumni who have volunteered at the end of each round to be ambassadors. The aim of the mentorship programme is to allow participants to take ownership of their professional and personal development. All participants – mentors and mentees and ambassadors – all have multifaceted opportunities to work on insight, awareness and personal growth, navigating their career path and developing their leadership capacity and presence.

SAICA’s mentorship programme is aligned to the post-qualification framework, Pathways to Relevance, and exposes members to the enabling competencies in the container of a structured programme with a variety of learning opportunities that are shared with fellow participants. The variety of participants, roles and forms of interaction ensures that there is benefit to members of all levels, from newly qualified CAs(SA) and AGAs(SA) as mentees, to more experienced members who take on the role of mentor or program ambassador.


Benefits to mentors

  • Recognition as a subject matter expert and leader
  • Exposure to fresh perspectives, ideas and approaches
  • Establish and extend professional development record
  • Opportunity to reflect on own goals and practices
  • Development of personal leadership and coaching and mentoring styles
  • Opportunity to contribute to the success and development of others, and the profession as a whole
  • As the programme develops there is a potential for the participants to collaborate in ways that can transform the professional reputation of the accounting profession
  • Opportunity to learn from fellow mentors and expert facilitators at supervision sessions
  • Opportunity to gain credits towards SAICA CPD requirements and a formal coaching qualification

Benefits to mentees

  • Exposure to new ideas and ways of thinking
  • Advice on developing strengths and overcoming weaknesses
  • Guidance on professional development and advancement
  • The opportunity to develop new skills and knowledge
  • Peer interaction
  • As the programme develops there is a potential for the participants to collaborate in ways that can transform the professional reputation of the accounting profession

Benefits for all participants

  • The world is in a particular phase of disruption, chaos and break down – to play an effective role in designing a new emerging system we believe you need to develop a different level of awareness and personal power
  • Develop a career path that is future fit
  • Learn the personal capacity to be able to create the career that you want and have always dreamed about
  • Develop you your full potential to play your fullest role in the profession and the world as a whole
  • For ambassadors there is a chance to continue developing these areas and play a role in support change and development in the profession as part of the mentoring programme team

Mentors and mentees

Criteria for selection for mentors and mentees:

  • Members must be in good standing
  • Members must have sufficient time available to commit to the programme
  • In the case of mentors, a minimum of five years' post article experience with a philosophy of giving and commitment to developing others
  • In the case of mentees, generally less than seven years' post articles experience
  • The narrative in your responses to this application (mentors and mentees) is a key selection criterion
  • Ability and commitment to attend all training sessions
  • Agreement to be willing to learn and to ask for, give and receive feedback

Commitments and responsibilities:

  • Nature of the programme and how this influences the nature of the commitments asked of participants.
  • Time commitment and willingness to explore self – type of learning and commitment to your lifelong learning – self directed
  • Mentoring – career as an accountant – but cannot rely on old rules and traditional career paths – need to go deeper see the underlying processes at play in career development
  • This means you need to learn in a different way. Explore more deeply how you learn and your journey of learning to this point both as a mentor and a mentee

Commitments for each role


Attend all training events, ambassador mentee pods and sessions agreed with your mentor (minimum 6 sessions)

Willingness to learn – being open to learn, give feedback, ask for what you want, be clear, take time to reflect on your internal learning process, stretch yourself and use the experience to boost you own opportunities and effectiveness in the world.

  • 6 mentoring sessions
  • 4 training events
  • 4 ambassador pods

By applying you are acknowledging that you understand that each of these elements are integral to your participation on this programme.


Attend all training events, skills sessions, ambassador mentor pods and sessions agreed with your mentee (minimum 6 sessions).

Willingness to learn – being open to learn, give feedback, ask for what you want, be clear, take time to reflect on your internal learning process, stretch yourself and use the experience to boost you own opportunities and effectiveness in the world.

  • 6 mentoring sessions
  • 4 skills training sessions
  • 4 main training events
  • 4 ambassador pods


Ambassador roles do vary a little bit but generally the responsibilities are as follows:

  • Willingness to learn and lead and model the discipline of self-directed adult learning – being open to learn, give feedback, ask for what you want, be clear, take time to reflect on your internal learning process, stretch yourself and use the experience to boost you own opportunities and effectiveness in the world (even of you are very experienced and in a senior position)

Attendance commitments

  • 10 – 15 Ambassador meetings: planning, training, debrief, selection and matching
  • Organise and run 4 pod sessions for participants – either mentors or mentees to encourage and tutor learning of participants
  • Attend 4 main trainings for the cohort of your pod group
  • Optional
    • attend 4 mentor skills trainings to learn how to facilitate experiential learning and the practice of professional mentoring supervision
    • Co-facilitate primary training event
    • Selection and matching

Networking and communications

  • Primary communications with applicants and members are via email
  • Primary communication platforms with mentors, mentees and ambassadors will be held via Zoom and WhatsApp groups.
  • WhatsApp group also serves as communication within pod groups.
  • Face-to-face networking opportunities will be hosted if conditions allow.

Queries can be directed to ***@saica.co.za

2021 Update

The programme took a major step forward in 2021. The number of active ambassadors grew from 10 to 28 active members. The number of participants has grown from 132 to 200 people, 100 mentoring pairings. And for the first time the programme is open to members throughout the country as well as international members.

The growth in ambassadors is particularly exciting. It is evidence that more and more SAICA members are willing to commit and contribute to the success of this programme. They are doing this because if the potential they see, as well as the personal benefit and reward of participating and contributing. Ambassadors play an integral role in running the programme and are the most important factor in the future growth and sustainability of the programme.

Ambassadors bring all their previous experience as former participants, as ongoing ambassadors as well as the leadership and coaching experience they have develop in their professional careers. Their participation means that new members receive a level and quality of support that is rare in training and development programmes. To support the growing ambassador group and the collective capacity they represent, the Sandton coaching centre continues to bring their expertise to guide, mentor and train ambassadors to develop their capacity as programme guides and facilitators.

Other aspects of this year’s programme are:

Selection and matching

One of the roles ambassadors can do is around selection of applicants and matching of mentoring pairs. Some ambassadors enjoy this challenging and valuable role. In 2020 the whole selection and matching team were able to meet in person before Covid-19 forced the whole programme online. This year we were able to set up four teams, each led by and ambassador who had engaged in selection and matching in two previous rounds of the programme. The team leaders continued to receive guidance from the facilitators at the Sandton Coaching Centre. Each team had three or four members who are now learning the process developed during the previous rounds. This increase in capacity for selection and matching is vital. We had 286 qualifying mentee applications and 205 mentor applications. From this we had to select 100 mentees and then match 100 mentors to this group. The aim is to expand the programme each year so the capacity in this area is a vital aspect of development for the overall success of the programme.

The value of matching

One of the core beliefs in the programme is in the value of matching mentors and mentees. We base the matches partly on specific requests around type of person or sector as well as the sense we have of the applicants, their personalities and interests. We find that choosing a mentor based on externally focussed factors, based on superficial goals and societal norms, does not always lead to the most valuable learning outcome. A match of styles, personalities and challenges of difference can enrich the learning. Many participants report how valuable this process has been and how well they have been matched.

Ambassador pods

After each round of the training each participant joins a learning pod facilitated by and ambassador. Here participants can ask questions, get further tutoring, or learn from the experience and questions asked by other participants. Participants also have a chance to build relationships and network with fellow participants. Pod ambassadors also provide ad hoc one on one support for participants when they have a specific issue.

For example, some participants may not be sure about their match. Once they start the programme and they begin to think through what they want they may think the match is not right. The ambassador often supports members with these questions. Firstly, it is valuable to have an insight into a newly identified need. Then they can express this need in their session with their mentoring partner and often the pair finds that this is something they can agree on and work on and the mentoring partner often appreciates the clarity and specific nature of the request. It can deepen the learning partnership. If the need cannot be met the pair may continue with other aspects of professional development and, having now identity a new need, the participant can seek support elsewhere.

There are many individual stories that we hope you will be able to see in the testimonials and interviews of programme participants, sharing their own experience in their own words.

Ambassadors and the lead programme facilitators also provide support with many other aspects of mentoring and getting the most out of a mentoring relationship. Again the best way to learn about this is through experiences participants share directly.


The primary training events have begun already this year with participants split into three cohorts to reduce the size of each event. Due to the programme being online and the way that this can restrict interaction and learning, we have added a further training element, namely mentor skills trainings.

These events are held before each round of the main training programme and provides a chance to share more concepts and tools with mentors so they can prepare for the main training and the subsequent sessions with their mentees. Mentors also have the chance to ask for guidance during their ambassador learning pods. There are four rounds of training covering specific themes:

  1. Contracting, rapport building, goal setting and general mentoring models, requests and agreements
  2. Communication, insight and awareness, learning styles, assertiveness, personal power
  3. Ethics, choices, awareness and systemic context - complexity and ambiguity
  4. Endings, re-contracting, review and reflection, feedback, ongoing development plans

The first round is in March and the final round is in September 2021.

Areas for future development

More proactive participant networking

Each year we have discussed ways in which we can improve this aspect of the programme. Each year we ask for volunteers to take the lead with this area. So far most ambassadors have chosen to be involved in running the programme as described above.

Further ambassador training

  • Tech training

A few ambassadors have volunteered to learn about managing tech on the programme. This has been primarily been around running a Zoom event, recording and running break out rooms.

  • Mentoring Supervision training for ambassadors
  • Mentoring Programme Design, Development and Delivery

Prequalification Mentoring Programme

We had many applications from people who have not yet reached CA(SA) qualification.


The facilitators and the ambassadors have been developing protocols for each aspect of the programme. These are revised continuously during and between each round of the mentoring programme. Insight, sharing and debrief sessions give rise to many suggestions and edits to refine and more fully describe the processes followed

Training materials and other content

The foundational materials for the programme are used in each round so far and participants suggest and add content to this continuously.

Materials also ensure integration with the CA2025 framework.