Seeds for the Future cultivates local ICT talent

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 27 Nov 2023
Communications deputy minister Philly Mapulane (seated, middle) with the Seeds for the Future class of 2023.
Communications deputy minister Philly Mapulane (seated, middle) with the Seeds for the Future class of 2023.

Huawei South Africa’s ICT training programme, in partnership with the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies (DCDT), has trained 102 local students, to date.

This was revealed at last week’s Seeds for the Future 2023 programme launch, which will see 12 students from universities in Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West, Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Free State and Gauteng receive training at the Huawei Innovation Centre.

The key focus areas for this year are digitalisation, innovation, entrepreneurship and sustainability, according to Huawei SA.

Speaking at the launch in Woodmead, Johannesburg, DCDT deputy minister Philly Mapulane said the initiative remains an important platform in the pursuit to bridge the digital divide.

“Together, we must ensure the benefits of the digital age are accessible to all, regardless of background or circumstances. Scaling up skills development to support innovation and the digital revolution is an investment in the future. It’s not only about empowering individuals with the tools to succeed, but also about driving economic growth and societal progress.”

Seeds for the Futureis Huawei's global social responsibility initiative. In SA, Huawei partnered with the DCDT in 2016, to offer the ICT training programme locally.

University students with ICT-related majors − including computer science, electronic science, IT, software and engineering − are chosen from various higher learning institutions across the country.

Furthermore, Huawei has partnered with the University of Johannesburg's Confucius Institute to deliver the Chinese cultural aspects of the course. The students participate in the Tech4All competition and if they reach the global final, there is the opportunity to travel to China.

“Undoubtedly, SA’s digital economy development depends on ICT infrastructure development, but without an abundant and sustainable ICT talent supply, the target will be too far to reach,” comments Kian Chen, deputy CEO, Huawei SA.

“I trust that is why the DCDT has been engaging with all partners to develop the ICT skills for the youth. Huawei is honoured to be one of the important partners in this journey.

“We want to cultivate young people who are socially responsible and innovative. We want our ‘seeds’ to think about how technology can be used in the future to solve complex global problems, such as climate change and the green transition.”

Munyai Vhutuhawe, Seeds for the Future alumnus and now IT facility and equipment engineer at Huawei, comments: “In 2021, when I participated in the programme, our team made it to the top three globally, in the Seeds for the Future Tech4Good competition, for our project aimed at protecting SA’s rhino population from illegal poaching.”

Basani Mathebula, University of the Witwatersrand graduate and current Huawei IP technical engineer, adds the programme provided her with a “platform to dive deep into the world of technology and gain valuable hands-on knowledge”.

“It has not only equipped me with technical skills, but has also nurtured my passion for innovation and fuelled my aspirations to contribute to the telecommunications industry as a wireless, microwave and IP technical engineer in the MTN Huawei project.”

Kim Smalls, one of this year’s Seeds for the Future students, states: “Imagine a world where technology breaks down barriers, where opportunities are accessible to all, and where innovation drives positive change.

“This is the world we can create together. As we embark on this seeds journey, let us embrace the excitement and possibilities that lie ahead. Let us harness our collective knowledge, inspire one another, and make a lasting impact on the world around us.”