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Huawei commits R7m in bursaries to top ICT students

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Huawei SA has committed R7 million in bursaries to support 48 top ICT students at five universities as part of its wider ICT Talent Ecosystem, which aims to grow and support ICT skills training and skills transfer in the country.

In a statement, the Chinese telecoms company says the ICT sector, especially mobile telecommunications, is a scarce skills sector in SA.

It notes the number of students in ICT-related courses is still low and competition for young recruits is fierce.

The announcement comes after another tech giant, Samsung, also announced that 30 talented young students in Gauteng are this year’s recipients of bursaries totalling R2.7 million through its own bursary investment initiative.

In awarding these bursaries, Huawei aims to address some of the challenges it has faced when it comes to recruiting in SA.

The programme offers students from disadvantaged backgrounds an opportunity to flourish and accomplish their aspirations and academic goals, says the company.

“We believe that South Africa’s talented young people have the potential to mature into world-class experts,” says Kian Chen, Huawei SA’s deputy CEO. “By enhancing industry-academic cooperation, we, as an international ICT company, hope to make our contribution to achieving the country’s development goals.”

The candidates are drawn from the University of Pretoria (UP), Wits University, University of KwaZulu-Natal, University of Western Cape and University of Cape Town.

Speaking at the UP’s bursary awards ceremony, Professor Anton Ströh, UP’s vice-principal of research, innovation and postgraduate education, said the institution is grateful for Huawei’s support in sponsoring some of its ICT and engineering students over the years.

“The University of Pretoria is a multidisciplinary research institution, and we look forward to further collaborations with Huawei. We also offer huge congratulations to the recipients of the bursaries and wish them well in their studies.”

Huawei believes corporates have an important role to play in the local education system, hence its ICT Talent Ecosystem runs across both university and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges.

The company says it has committed to train 6 000 ICT students from universities and TVET colleges in technologies like 5G, cloud and artificial intelligence.

It also runs the Huawei ICT Academy in more than 50 universities and colleges in SA.

According to Huawei, students who successfully complete the course receive a professionally-accredited certification, which helps them when they enter the job market.

Huawei also runs its flagship corporate social responsibility programme – Seeds for the Future – in SA. Since its inception in 2016, more than 70 students have benefited from this technology and culture study annual initiative.

“This bursary was the only way I was able to do postgraduate studies,” says Fezile Nkosi, who is pursuing a Master’s degree in Information Science at the University of Pretoria. “If it were not for the bursary, I would be job hunting right now. Instead, I’m doing my Masters, which has always been my dream.”

For Hector Motsepe, who is pursuing a BSC Honours in Information Technology, the bursary is equally meaningful.

“The bursary means a lot, especially given the challenges of the last year,” he says. “COVID-19 saw a lot of parents losing their jobs and made job security even more of a worry. The bursary helps with those worries. I also appreciate that Huawei encourages us to get additional certification as part of the programme.”

“We know that we have to get more students to take up STEM courses (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) in South Africa," says Chen. “As Huawei, we’re proud to be part of building those numbers and ensuring those who do take those courses are as well equipped to enter the workplace as possible.”

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