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Huawei, DTPS send students to China to learn ICT skills

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Left to right: Huawei CEO Spawn Fan, minister Siyabonga Cwele, Chinese ambassador Lin Songtian, and Huawei COO Christina Naidoo with 10 ICT university students at the send-off ceremony.
Left to right: Huawei CEO Spawn Fan, minister Siyabonga Cwele, Chinese ambassador Lin Songtian, and Huawei COO Christina Naidoo with 10 ICT university students at the send-off ceremony.

"I hope the study trip to China will expose me to other ICT streams in order to expand my knowledge and skills," said software development and IT student Lwando Ncana.

Ncana, a first-year Master's student at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in the Eastern Cape, is one of the 10 students selected to participate in this year's Seeds for the Future programme.

Seeds for the Future is Huawei's global social responsibility initiative. Huawei South Africa runs it in partnership with the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (DTPS).

According to Huawei, the programme's objective is to cultivate ICT talent, promote knowledge transfer in the telecoms industry and broaden digital access.

This year's intake hails from universities across the country. Over a two-week period, the students will receive training in technologies such as 5G, LTE and cloud computing at Huawei labs located in Beijing, as well as the company's headquarters in Shenzhen.

Remarking on what he would like to do after the two-week learnership, Ncana said: "I'm going to try to implement the information learned into my Master's thesis. I would like to take some time off to start writing some code and I also want to share what I've learned with friends who are also doing IT."

"I'm extremely excited about this learning opportunity," said Franco Landman, a fourth-year software development student at the Central University of Technology. "I hope to get all the necessary knowledge I need, that I will also be able to share with my fellow students."

ICT talent ecosystem

Speaking at the send-off ceremony, DTPS minister Siyabonga Cwele said the Fourth Industrial Revolution will change how people access government services.

"This means that we need to align our education to this reality. We need to consider introducing training in coding at an early age in schooling."

Cwele emphasised the importance of partnerships with ICT organisations like Huawei to build an ICT talent ecosystem to support the country's digital transformation.

Huawei South Africa CEO Spawn Fan added that it is the duty of all ICT players, from government to the private sector, to ensure that all South Africans benefit from the opportunities that connectivity brings.

"Connectivity is the key driver for inclusive, sustainable social and economic development, and one of the key challenges facing the ICT sector in South Africa, and many other countries, is the need for a large pool of skilled ICT professionals."

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