By Phiwa Sikhondze
MTN Eswatini’s corporate social responsibility arm, the MTN Foundation, has announced the launch of the MTN Skills Academy. This innovative online platform is designed to empower Eswatini’s youth and bridge the digital divide.
The MTN Skills Academy is aligned with Eswatini’s digital economy strategy and the National Digital Transformation Roadmap and aims to provide access to digital and financial skills training for youth in Eswatini and across the globe as a catalyst for job creation and increased employment opportunities.
Speaking at the launch event held at the University of Eswatini (UNESWA) Sports Emporium, MTN Eswatini Head of Corporate Services, Sibusiso Nhleko, emphasized the programme’s importance in addressing the critical gap between digital skills training and job placement.
“The focus of the Skills Academy is to create opportunities for young people in the digital area. I do believe that going forward, the illiterate in the future will no longer just be confined to the ability to read and write. So, we are focusing on the demand for digital skills,” he said.
He also noted that the MTN Skills Academy would play a pivotal role in addressing the challenges faced by Eswatini youth, who make up the majority of the population and yet remain one of the most vulnerable groups in the country. Nhleko disclosed that for a start 2500 licenses are accessible through this programme.
He also emphasized that courses will be provided free of charge and will be accredited by international universities and institutions of higher learning, hence the youth should utilize this opportunity.
Professor Justice Tfwala, the Vice Chancellor of UNESWA, commended MTN for its ongoing commitment to innovation and its role in driving the country’s sustainable development through ICT.
He also pledged the university’s commitment to supporting the initiatives brought about by the MTN Skills Academy to ensure that the youth reach their full potential.
“The MTN Skills Academy will also open up new frontiers for our youth to gain essential ICT skills that will prepare them for the jobs of the future. As the leading university in Eswatini, we are committed to unlocking the potential of the Eswatini people and platforms such as the MTN Skills Academy which will empower our young people to dream about new opportunities and actively participate in the digital area,” Tfwala said.
MTN Donates E750 000 Worth Computers to UNESWA
The MTN Foundation has also revived its 10 years of relationship with the University of Eswatini (UNESWA) by handing over a donation of 35 computers worth E750 000 to the institution’s Electrical and Electronic Engineering department.
The MTN Foundation and other stakeholders gathered in the Simulation Laboratory at UNESWA to recommit to supporting students as part of their founding initiative to empower the youth.
According to the MTN Eswatini Head of Corporate Services, Sibusiso Nhleko, this donation is part of many projects that they are yet to launch with the university in their long-term relationship.
He expressed that it is part of their objectives to ensure that the youth is technologically ready to face the world in providing solutions and being fruitful employees in the field after completing their studies.
“We, therefore, believe that the contribution that we are making today to the university will enable the university to produce graduates that have cutting-edge skills, industry ready and able to hustle and create solutions that we can sell even outside our kingdom,” Nhleko said.
Receiving this donation, the UNESWA Vice-Chancellor expressed his gratitude for the contributions that the foundation has made to the institution over the years of their working relationship.
He added that the contribution will go a long way into impacting more students as such contributions from MTN have benefitted over 100 students who have meaningfully contributed their expertise to the world out there.
Speaking on behalf of the Electrical and Electronic Engineering department, the Head of Department, Wiseman Nyembe also commended this partnership and expressed the impact that the partnership has made in their department.
He also promised that they would make sure that the contribution achieves its intended purpose.
“We so much appreciate the support that has been made by MTN. We don’t take this contribution lightly and we can assure you that we will do our best to make the best use of this equipment. We will ensure that your contribution achieves its objective by committing ourselves,” he said.