[Port-of-Spain, October 26, 2020]

CANTO Secretary General Teresa Wankin and Huawei T&T CEO Jeff Jin are calling on all stakeholders in the ICT sector to collaborate to develop critically needed ICT skills in T&T.

They were speaking at the virtual Opening Ceremony for Huawei’s 2020 Seeds for the Future programme, held on October 19th, which provided 20 university students in T&T the exciting opportunity for immersive, hands-on training in new Information Communications Technologies via a one-week, interactive, online programme.

Created in 2008, the Seeds for the Future programme was born out of Huawei’s recognition of the huge and deepening global ICT skills shortage, and the company’s dedication to helping the world solve this problem. By 2019, over 126 countries and 5,700 ICT students globally had participated in the programme. To date, Huawei has trained 50 T&T students.

Huawei T&T CEO, Jeff Jin, said the programme represented Huawei’s commitment to providing education and training in ICT for T&T students, and called for all stakeholders to work together to form a wider National ICT Talent Development Programme, of which Huawei’s Seeds for the Future could be a part. He noted that while Digital Transformation was a very clear national strategy, T&T would need more ICT talent to make this strategy a reality.

“Digital Transformation cannot happen with just one person, or one company, or even one Ministry. It takes all of us to make this possible,” he said. “We call for all of us here to develop a National ICT Talent Development programme, where we work together to build the ICT talent pool that will drive the T&T economy forward. Huawei stands ready to be your Partner in building the talent for that Digital Transformation.”

Describing Huawei as having “a big corporate social responsibility footprint in T&T,” CANTO Secretary General Teresa Wankin, told the audience: “Through the Seeds for the Future programme we are building the right capacity for the next generation of leaders to operate in a digital economy.” In addition, she said: “This initiative shows that for our country to move forward with ICT development, collaboration among all stakeholders is key.”

She advised the students: “This is your springboard to jumpstart your respective careers…Seek to innovate with the skills derived from this experience to solve modern day problems.”

As a member of the Selection Panel charged with choosing the best candidates for the programme, she added: “After witnessing your minds at work I am confident and excited for the future of technology in T&T,” and she praised UWI and UTT for the calibre of students they were producing.

Other members of the Selection Panel were CEO of the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago Cynthia Reddock-Downes; CEO of the T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce Gabriel Faria; Head of the Centre for ICT at the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) who also represented the Education Ministry, Dr. Rodney Rambally; Senior Lecturer in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Dr. Kim Mallalieu; Instructor & Discipline Co-ordinator at the Centre for ICT at UTT Emile Ramlal; Senior Manager, Enterprise Operations at TSTT Darryl Duke; Senior Journalist and Anchor, Guardian Media, Akash Samaroo; and Huawei T&T Public Relations Manager Tricia Henry.

This year marked the 5th anniversary of the programme in T&T. The 2020 cohort comprised 20 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) students from UWI and UTT.  In addition to cultural appreciation components and the opportunity to network with other students as well as ICT experts from all over the world, the students received ICT Training and Practice in 5G Networks, Artificial Intelligence and Cloud Computing.  They also learnt from industry experts discussing Overview of IoT Technologies, SmartHome, Cyber Security, the Evolving Role of ICT in the Economy, Digital Transformation, Strategic Leadership, Personal Effectiveness and Culture Awareness.