MTN Group has become the third South African enterprise to sign an industry partner agreement with the international Digital Skills Academy, as well as becoming a corporate client, in a move aimed at upskilling its staff and fast-tracking its customer service channel development.

The agreement with Dublin-based Digital Skills Academy will see MTN Group partnering with the Academy to deliver broad-based training and on-site experience to the academy’s BSc programme participants in South Africa.

Paul Dunne, CEO and founder of the Digital Skills Academy, says: “As a corporate client, MTN will also uplift the digital capabilities of its own working professionals through the Academy’s internationally-acclaimed practice-based professional learning programme.”

Mteto Nyati, CEO of MTN South Africa, says the agreements will support the telecoms giant’s transformational projects, primarily around its customer services and digital strategies.

“The partnership with Digital Skills Academy aligns with our aims to develop the necessary skills to transform our service delivery. Customer service is at the centre of what we do, and is our key differentiator within the telecoms space.

“We want to significantly transform the way we interact with our customers through our various channels, and we will be using these new skills to help us up our game within that space. The initiative will help to upskill key MTN staff, which will help us to retain key talent in a market where we have huge shortages, as well serving as a form of recognition for our top performers,” Nyati adds.

“It will also be beneficial for us to have people coming from outside our company and looking with fresh eyes at our challenges and giving us feedback, and out of that helping us to come up with clear plans that we can execute.”

Nyati notes that digital skills development is crucial in South Africa at this stage, particularly in the cloud and analytics spaces. Programmes such as the Digital Skills Academy BSc course will help the country build these much-needed skills.

Liam Mac Gabhann, ambassador of Ireland in South Africa, was in attendance at the signing of this high profile industry partnership. “Ireland is a strong global performer in skills development, education and e-learning. It is encouraging to see new doors opened for increased collaboration and knowledge sharing between Ireland and South Africa in this important sector.”