MTN Skills Academy: Digital Education and Career Guidance Platform

providing accessible digital and financial skills

Our team has been honoured to help create a platform that helps people grow. The MTN Skills Academy was launched in 2022 as part of MTN’s belief that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life. With a goal of reaching 1 million people through the platform by 2025, the MTN Skills Academy is here to make an impact.

The Challenge

MTN Group briefed our team to build a platform for digital skills programmes that are directly linked to digital jobs. Their challenge was to build an ecosystem that can help a user find a learning stream, upskill and become educated in that field, be mentored and then be hired as a professional within the digital ecosystem. This approach focuses on both the beneficiary and the outcome – with a clear user journey that can be refined and iterated upon as new skills emerge within the digital sector.

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The platform aims to be part of the solution to addressing the challenges of a lack of digital literacy and unemployment in Africa. In a case study from the GSMA 2023 Mobile Industry Impact Report on Sustainable Development Goals, MTN notes that around 38 million young people in sub-Saharan Africa are not in education, employment or training (NEET).

To create a people-first platform we needed to consider the challenges our users currently face in trying to learn the essential digital skills required by employers in Africa. These challenges include poor accessibility to career guidance at high school level, few mentorship opportunities for graduates and lack of access to the internet or data.

We needed to build a platform that could withstand varying internet quality and devices, with relevant educational content presented in a way that would be easy to navigate. Our client also wanted to meet the needs of people with disabilities, who are often excluded from opportunities for growth.

The Solution

Our team facilitated an interface Design Sprint to create a tangible prototype for stakeholders to assess and comprehend the viability of the project with users.​
In just 4 weeks we gathered input from MTN and partners and designed a tangible prototype for usability testing data collection. Since the platform aims to benefit youth in Africa, MTN Group collaborated with MTN Foundations and CSI Divisions in Nigeria, eSwatini, Rwanda, Ghana, South Africa and Zambia to involve youth in usability testing.

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Once the prototype was approved, we built an innovative infrastructure of complex API (application programming interface) integrations for numerous learning platforms to achieve the ideal user experience.​

We also had the opportunity to experiment and test the capabilities of no-code development tools like Framer, specifically in the context of animation, interaction and responsiveness. We used Framer to build an exciting and engaging youth-focused experience from the moment the user lands on the page. This experiment enabled our design team to fully realise their vision for the page animations without the need for intermediary tools or mockups to brief the development team.

In the latest iteration of the Progressive Web Application (PWA), we’ve incorporated the AccessiBe accessWidget feature to ensure that our platform is accessible to all users. This powerful tool utilises two applications that work seamlessly together to provide a comprehensive accessibility solution. The accessibility interface is responsible for making UI (user interface) and design-related adjustments, such as increasing contrast and font size, while the AI-powered process focuses on optimizing the platform for screen readers and keyboard navigation. With AccessiBe, our platform is more inclusive and user-friendly than ever before.

The Impact

Today, the MTN Skills Academy features a range of courses from MTN’s content partner, Coursera. Users can also find expert career guidance thanks to MTN’s partnership with PACE Career Centre. The free-to-use platform is designed using inclusive design principles, with country-specific content that is based on current market demands and location-specific study and bursary/scholarship opportunities.

The incorporation of AccessiBe allows users to customise the PWA to accommodate any disabilities they may have, including visual impairments. In future, users in French-speaking countries will also be able to translate all the content they see at the tap of a button.

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Over 2,000 people joined the MTN Skills Academy in the first month it launched in Zambia, with the number expected to increase during 2023 as MTN rolls out in additional markets. The aim is to reach 1 million people through the initiative by 2025.

In 2023 alone, the platform was released in Uganda, eSwatini, Cote d’Ivoire, Zambia and South Africa, and there are plans to launch in Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroon before the year ends.

View the MTN Skills Academy PWA here.