MTN-LogoTelecoms giant, MTN has signed a deal with the Digital Skills Academy to upskill its staffers and deliver a more efficient service to customers. The telecoms company bore the brunt of customer anger during a recent months-long strike that ended in July.

“This is a continent-wide initiative not limited to South Africa. Yes, it will increase the skilled base in the ICT industry,” Elia Tsouros, GM of MTN Group Global Enterprise Sales, was quoted as saying about the partnership.

She doubled down on MTN South Africa’s CEO Mteto Nyati’s idea that the operator intended to make customer service a priority in 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,” she said.

It is expected that graduates of the programme will be given freedom to find new efficiencies with the operator to deliver better service, added Ms Tsouros.

“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.”

MTN is under pressure following a huge fine of $3.9bn in Nigeria over the failure to disconnect 5-million unregistered SIM cards and has seen the departure of senior managers — including group president and CEO Sifiso Dabengwa — as a result.

The Digital Skills Academy is based in Ireland and focuses on producing graduates for tech companies.

“It is encouraging to see new doors opened for increased collaboration and knowledge sharing between Ireland and SA in this important sector,” said Liam MacGabhann, ambassador of Ireland in SA.

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