Eyeing 4IR, Youth ICT Council, Huawei train graduates on 5G

Lebone Mano
By Lebone Mano, junior journalist
Johannesburg, 26 May 2021

The Youth ICT Council, in partnership with Huawei, last week held a 5G training programme to equip 100 local unemployed graduates and township-based ISPs with 5G skills.

The four-day programme forms part of Huawei’s commitment to provide graduates, in particular communication networks graduates, with the skills needed to make the most of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The programme was held online and had workshops on the evolution of 5G, protocol standardisation, network architecture, 5G’s global commercial deployment plans and business use cases.

The Youth ICT Council's president Luvo Grey says Huawei's investment in technology development and advocacy for broader inclusion in the digital economy makes the two organisations a natural fit.

The council was launched in January this year and is supported by the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies (DCDT) in providing opportunities to increase youth participation in ICT and developing a talent pool for the 4IR, in line with the departments goals. The council will use strategic partnerships such as those with Huawei to implement its vision.

Communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams spoke at the launch of the training programme, saying the government has a commitment to develop the local economy with the technology and skills to be globally competitive. She added that Huawei has been a valuable partner in building the telco infrastructure which the country needs, as well as ‘through programmes such as this one, developing the skills required to build a highly developed digital economy’.

Huawei SA’s deputy CEO, Kian Chen said the company recognises the critical role 5G will play in driving the 4IR and in the country’s socioeconomic transformation.

“We are very aware of the importance of developing talent and supporting South Africa’s ICT skills”.

Huawei aims to contribute to the DCDT’s 2030 data science agenda of training a million ICT graduates or practitioners through its social responsibility initiatives. One of these, the Seeds for the Future training programme, will see an estimated 6 000 learners attend.

“We’re strong believers that young people must become agents of their own futures. With this training, we are opening up windows to multiple opportunities for them to do so,” said Chen.

Youth eagerness is encouraging

The CSIR was also represented at last week’s 5G training launch. Principal researcher Albert Lysko highlighted the importance of increased broadband speed and access for the country’s socioeconomic development. 

“The last year has shown just how critical broadband is, especially when it comes to the evolution of education and work,” he said, adding that the importance of connectivity will continue to grow.

“The information requirements for sensors on things like self-driving cars, smart objects, and factory components mean that we’ll need increasing levels of connectivity and bandwidth. 5G is an important element and great technology to provide that connectivity and building the networks behind it will require widespread skills development.”

The Youth Council’s spokesperson Aluwani Chokoe said the number of applications received for the 5G training was encouraging and that similar programmes would be launched in the future.

“Our vision is to make technology a natural aptitude for all South African youth and to make the country a global source of tech talent,” she said.