by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – MORE than 100 South African students have benefitted from Huawei’s Seeds for the Future programme.
This initiative by the technology powerhouse aims to ensure tech-savvy and change-resilient young people have the requisite skills and mindsets to be competitive in the workplaces of the future.
The 2023 edition has been launched in Johannesburg with the key messages around the transformative power of technology education, giving back to communities and continuous learning.
Seeds for the Future is Huawei’s global corporate social responsibility (CSR) flagship ICT student training programme, running in South Africa since 2016 in partnership with the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies.
So far, 102 students have benefitted from the programme.
Speaking at the event, Deputy Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, Philly Mapulane said, “Together, we must ensure that 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.”
This year, Huawei has recruited 12 candidates from universities in Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West and Western Cape.
The programme also targets a 50-50 gender split.
Kian Chen, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Huawei South Africa, said South Africa’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.
“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,” Chen said.
Chen said the company wanted 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.”
During the event, Seeds for the Future alumni who are now Huawei employees shared their experiences of the programme and their growth at Huawei.
Siyabonga Thomas Shandu, a University of Johannesburg graduate who now works as a project lead at Huawei, has in two years at Huawei been privileged to contribute to the Openserve FTTH (Fibre to The Home) Project, witnessing more South African households and businesses being connected with Openserve fibre.
“This journey has not only been about numbers but about growth – both personal and professional growth,” Shandu said.
Munyai Vhutuhawe, a computer science graduate from the University of Limpopo, who works as an IT Facility and Equipment Engineer at Huawei, said, “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 South Africa’s rhino population from illegal poaching.”
University of the Witwatersrand graduate and current Huawei IP Technical Engineer, Basani Mathebula, described the programme as a transformative experience that provided her with a unique 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 fueled my aspirations to contribute to the telecommunications industry as a wireless, microwave and IP Technical Engineer in the MTN Huawei Project,” she said.
Kim Smalls, one of this year’s students, imagined a world where technology breaks down barriers, where opportunities are accessible to all and where innovation drives positive change.
“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,” Smalls said.
– CAJ News