MTN Uganda’s corporate social responsibility arm, MTN Foundation, has welcomed 410 youths in the inaugural cohort of the MTN ACE initiative meant to sharpen skills of fresh graduates, those in and out of school, innovators, entrepreneurs and tech-driven start-ups to become self-reliant and contribute to the national economy.
Launched in Mid- December last year, the MTN ACE is an invention of the MTN Uganda Foundation set to be executed in partnership with the Ministry of ICT & National Guidance, The National ICT Innovation Hub, Centenary Technology Services, Refactory, MUBS Entrepreneurship Innovation, and Incubation Centre, as well as MTN’s Fintech subsidiary, MTN MoMo Uganda Limited.
The training initiative has three components: Ace Tech that focuses on up-skilling the youth interested in tech-related innovations; Ace Career that is seeking to empower fresh graduates with workplace skills and internship placement; and the Ace Skilling that is tailor-made for the youths who are in or out of school to equip them with entrepreneurial skills.
Bryan Mbasa, the senior manager at MTN Foundation said 100 youths out of 332 applicants have been selected for the 12-month Ace Tech training and 50 youths out of 156 youths who submitted their applications have been selected for the 3-month Ace Career training. Similarly, 260 youths including 83 females have been selected to participate in the 6-month Ace skilling initiative out of 357 applicants.
“We congratulate all successful applicants on our training initiative. We hope you will never be the same again in terms of skills set and opportunities upon completion,” he said.
He said the training is already ongoing for the ACE Tech participants whereas those selected for the Ace Career and Ace Skilling will commence on 15 February 2023 both online and in-person. All the successful participants shall be awarded certificates upon the completion of their programs.
MTN Uganda Chief Executive Officer, Ms. Sylvia Mulinge, said the telecom company is proud to welcome successful youths the three training initiatives saying it is meant to transform their lives and that of their communities.
“We are very excited as a company to have you as you embark on your new journey of sharpening your skills. As MTN Uganda, we believe in empowering the next generation of job creators, entrepreneurs, contributors and leaders so that our people and communities can be transformed,” she said.
“It is only an empowered community through initiatives such as MTN ACE that that they can start making meaningful contributions to the national economy and the entire world.”
Ms. Mulinge said MTN Uganda is committed to ensuring that it transforms lives and builds communities as well as connects youth to the available opportunities to ensure that no one is left behind.
This development comes as available statistics from the World Bank indicate that Ugandan youths are faced with a surge in unemployment levels. More than 75% of Uganda’s population is below the age of 30, with the country having one of the highest youth unemployment rates at 13.3%—the number of youth actively looking for a job as a percentage of the labour force in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Steven Kirenga, the head of Product & Business Development and Customer Experience at Centenary Technology Services said they are proud to be one of the implementing partners of MTN Ace program.
“We have installed a world class ICT lab at the National ICT hub in Nakawa to ensure that no one is limited by anything during the training especially in relation to technology,” he said.
The MTN Foundation has earmarked Shs1.5bn towards this MTN ACE initiative this year in line with the corporate social responsibility agenda aimed at impacting the livelihoods of the communities MTN operates.
Over the years, MTN has remained committed to empowering the youths by offering numerous training opportunities that support the youth to fully realize their potential while contributing positively to their communities ad countries.