Sixty-two out of one hundred youths graduated in the second cohort of the MTN Foundation Youth Skilling Program which was launched in 2020 with the aim of upskilling youth with current job and entrepreneurship skill requirements in preparation for the fourth industrial revolution (4IR).
The program attracted youth at universities, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and young innovators who were equipped in six months with theoretical and practical digital skills needed to create jobs, run successful businesses and innovate.
Ubunifu Systems, a software development firm based in Uganda with a strong niche in professional mobile and web development, was the program-implementing organization.
MTN Uganda General Manager for customer experience Dorcus Muhwezi while speaking at the graduation ceremony said she was proud of the success that the youths have recorded in the course of the program —congratulating them on the nobble achievement. “The time and resources you have invested in this training have paid off and that is the cause of our celebration,” she said. “We have trained you to be great innovators, ready to not only employ the acquired skills but also to be resilient in all your future endeavors. The task ahead is huge but it is achievable.”
Muhwezi pointed out that the MTN Foundation looks forward to working together with the youth to transform their lives and that of their communities — also stating that the foundation believes in doing good in our communities and societies because that is what makes a nation progress.
This comes at a time statistics from World Bank indicate that Uganda has the youngest population in the world, with around 700,000 young people reaching the working age per annum. The global bank notes that this number is expected to surge to an average of one million in the decade from 2030-2040, signaling a need to re-align the youth’s skill set and prospective employment opportunities.
MTN Foundation Board of Trustees and the South African High Commissioner H.E. Lulama Xingwana believe that it is worth supporting skilling our youth in entrepreneurship so that their creativity and efforts can yield positive results not only in improving their individual lives but also in bolstering Uganda’s economic gains.
“Ugandan youths have proved to be innovative, creative, and diligent in seeing their ideas come to fruition,” he said.
H.E. Xingwana challenged the graduands to use the skills attained in the training to solve challenges in their communities, the country, and the rest of the world.
“Make use of the digital and entrepreneurial skills gained to establish or run an established enterprise better,” he said.
MTN Youth Skilling Program has since its inception created a huge impact on its graduates as the telecom company strives to improve the livelihood of the young population.
Irene Nandyose, a business administration graduate from Makerere University Kampala, who loved to crotchet during her free time at campus, is now the proprietor of Candid Craft Card, an online craft marketing platform. She launched the marketing platform upon completing the MTN Youth Skilling Program and now deals in children’s and swimming wear, sweaters, and handbags.
“I recommend MTN Youth Skilling Program to other youths since it is inclusive and looks at youth as people who need to gain the skills and take them further,” she said.
Emmanuel Sebiina, a teacher-turned-fuel marketer attached to Vivo Energy in Kitende, Entebbe Road, said he has recorded improved productivity following the training under the MTN Youth Skilling Program.
“The MTN Youth Skilling Program enabled me to learn how to enter data in Excel for onward data transmission via email to my supervisors, online marketing, collaboration as well as using zoom to virtually participate and execute work assignments,” he said.