5G, 4IR programme upskills thousands of SA tertiary students

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Huawei SA CEO Spawn Fan and communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams.
Huawei SA CEO Spawn Fan and communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams.

More than 2 000 South African tertiary students have been trained as part of an ICT skills programme delivered by Huawei and the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies.

So says Huawei, which notes the students hail from more than 20 universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training colleges.

Additionally, more than 900 of the students have benefitted from knowledge-sharing and virtual tours to Huawei’s 5G lab in Shenzhen, China, according to the telecoms giant.

Introduced in August 2019, the joint training initiative aims to upskill 6 000 South African students in 5G and other fourth industrial revolution (4IR)-related technologies.

The DCDT has also ambitiously set itself a target to train one million young people in data science and related skills by 2030, to empower them to fill jobs of the future.

“The National Development Plan (NDP) identifies 4IR as being crucial to eliminating income poverty and inequality, as well as to increase employment,” says communications and digital technologies minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams.

“In this regard, we see education as a tool that empowers the youth of our country. Creating a groundswell for digital skills, while leveraging young people’s affinity with technology, will advance and strengthen the country’s economic base, to enable South Africa to become more competitive in today’s globalised markets.”

Ndabeni-Abrahams adds that collaborative programmes of this nature are crucial to achieving the NDP’s goals.

The 2020 List of Occupations in High Demand released by the Department Higher Education and Training also notes ICT as one of two sectors, along with health, that saw a continued increase in demand for skills over the past year.

Through the four-day training programme, students immerse themselves in modules such as: the driving force of 5G evolution, development of 5G protocol standardisation, 5G industry chain and ecosystem, and 5G global commercial deployment. It helps the students to build a fundamental understanding of the development, system structure and industrial application of 5G.

While it was initially held in-person, the training moved online after SA went into lockdown last March.

The training has received very positive feedback from the students, with many saying it’s been informative and educational, says Huawei.

It’s widely recognised that 5G will be the key enabler of 4IR, changing the way people live, work, play and consume services, with Huawei noting 4IR skills will be vital as SA looks to build a competitive, future-oriented economy.

“As pioneers in the 5G space, Huawei understands how much potential it has when it comes to transforming economies around the globe,” states Huawei SA CEO Spawn Fan. “South Africa is no exception and Huawei is proud to be of assistance when it comes to ensuring the country’s future workers are as well-equipped as possible when it comes to embracing 4IR.”

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