MTN South Africa has launched an online digital skills academy and job placement hub to address the technology skills dearth and rising unemployment in SA.
The MTN Skills Academy seeks to provide South African youth with access to digital and financial skills training as a catalyst for job development and expanded employment prospects.
Speaking at the launch in Johannesburg today, Charles Molapisi, CEO of MTN South Africa, noted the academy is in alignment with the African Union’s digital transformation strategy for Africa.
It also forms part of MTN’s Ambition 2025 strategy – under the “digital skills for digital jobs” pillar, which aims to upskill one million people by 2025.
“I'm super-burdened by the challenge that we face as a country, when it comes to digital development. I am even more burdened by the lack of digital skills, particularly for young people. Because if we cannot address these problems, we cannot build cities of the future,” said Molapisi.
“Our objectives with the MTN Skills Academy are clear: we are offering free online training, enhancing workplace readiness and establishing a continent-wide jobs hub. We do this through our partners Coursera, PACE Career Centre and others.”
The academy is being launched across various parts of the continent, with the Uganda and Zambian leg already introduced over the last few months.
It provides courses and training programmes in areas such as coding, web development, digital marketing and data analytics.
The curriculum is tailored to meet industry demands, ensuring learners who complete the courses on the platform are well-equipped to contribute meaningfully to the workforce.
According to the 2022 JCSE-IITPSA ICT Skills Survey, the top five occupations with hard-to-fill vacancies in the MICT sector are software developer, computer network and systems engineer, ICT systems analyst, ICT security specialist and developer programmer.
According to MTN, the academy has set a goal of ensuring 60% of youth and adults have at least a basic proficiency in sustainable digital skills by 2025. The initiative also offers programmes targeted at entrepreneurs and prospective entrepreneurs.
It is being launched in three phases: phase one is the online learning portal, which is currently live; phase two is the mentorship and career guidance programme, which will launch early next year; and phase three is the job placement programme, which is expected to launch shortly thereafter.
The job placement programme will include a jobs portal to connect companies seeking skills with qualified youth.
Also speaking at the event, Arthur Mukhuvha, GM of the MTN SA Foundation, commented: “The academy is a cornerstone of MTN’s Ambition 2025, which is our commitment to the development of a digital future for the benefit of all.
“Not only will the academy play a pivotal role in enhancing digital and financial skills, but it will also foster digital inclusion, innovation and long-term career prospects for participants.”
This year, the MTN SA Foundation trained 900 unemployed youth across all nine provinces through its digital skills for digital jobs programme.