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MTN puts R14m into digital jobs programme

MTN’s R14-million investment in 2024 Digital Skills for Digital Jobs programme brings hope for a brighter future to unemployed youth.

MTN Foundation has invested R14-million to equip 900 unemployed young South Africans with marketable digital skills.

It says the investment in 2024 Digital Skills for Digital Jobs programme is a vote of confidence in the potential of the nation’s youth and a positive long-term step in helping secure South Africa’s place in an increasingly digital global economy.

South Africa, like many countries globally, grapples with the challenge of youth unemployment.  This is supported by statistics indicating that of the 10-million young people  aged  from 15 to 35 years in south Africa – 45,5%  are unemployed.   Only 2,5-million were in the labour force, either employed or unemployed. The main reason for being inactive is discouragement, i.e. they have lost hope of finding a job that suits their skills or in the area they reside.

The MTN SA Foundation has a long-standing commitment to supporting technical and digital education. For the second year running, the Digital Skills for Digital Jobs programme, will offer selected, unemployed candidates from each of the nine provinces the opportunity to participate in the 12-month accredited programme. 

“Digital literacy and skills are rapidly becoming regarded as fundamental skills in the workplace,” says Arthur Mukhuvha, GM of the MTN Foundation. “This need is reflected by the Foundation receiving 1737 applications nationwide in 2023 for the Digital Skills for Digital Jobs programme.  Of these applicants, 900 (100 from each province) were selected. Of this intake, 674 completed the programme and more than 60% of the graduates were women,”

This year MTN has been barraged by an overwhelming influx of applications, with a total of 5330 applications received.   Through the Digital Skills for Digital Jobs initiative, the 900 students of Class ‘24 will be provided training that includes basic end-computing, coding, robotics, AI, and other essential skills to prepare them for a future in the competitive IT sector.

“We regard equipping young men and women with these skills as the Foundation’s contribution to empowering deserving young people drawn primarily from disadvantaged communities with the skills required to achieve personal economic freedom through rewarding professional careers,” says Mukhuvha.

“At the same time, we will be helping address the high youth unemployment rate, which currently impacts 10 million young people aged between 15 and 25, by helping create a stream of qualified people ready to enter the multi-faceted world of IT. This will, hopefully, help inspire others to enter occupations essential to South Africa’s economic growth.” 

The training courses offered by the MTN Foundation in partnership with the EBL Institute and Datacomb Development Hub are designed to be inclusive. They are open to unemployed men and women who are not enrolled in formal education or training programmes.

The offering includes courses ranging from the fundamentals of strategy, the Internet of Things (IoT), data and big data, cybersecurity, data analytics, and artificial intelligence to designing e-commerce websites and the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI) requirements.

Structured to also offer opportunities for those with entrepreneurial instincts, the programme includes modules on various facets of establishing a business, life skills, career, and personal development. 

Provincial launches took place in the previous month at venues in the Northwest Province, the Northern Cape, KZN, Free State, Western Cape, and Eastern Cape. Graduation ceremonies will be hosted in six of the nine provinces where programme graduates will receive their SETA-accredited certificates.

Armed with their certificates and new personal digital skills, graduates of the Digital Skills for Digital Jobs programme will be ready to take advantage of opportunities ranging from traditional IT roles to emerging fields like digital marketing, data analysis, and software development.

Those who take the entrepreneurial path and start businesses will unlock their potential and, as their enterprises grow, will become employers, and create further opportunities.

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