Huawei inaugurates its Seeds for the Future programme 2021 in Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica & Suriname
- 54 university students from Jamaica, T&T and Suriname were selected to develop their talent with Information and Communication Technology professionals
- This edition sees Suriname participating for the very first time
- The leading global ICT provider reaffirmed its commitment to technological development in the region.
Port of Spain, October 22, 2021. Huawei opened through a virtual event the Seeds for the Future programme in Jamaica, Suriname and Trinidad & Tobago. The company’s global corporate social responsibility flagship initiative has been aiming for more than 13 years to develop local talents in Information and Communication Technology (ICT), in addition to training university students with the latest advances within the technological industry.
The inauguration of Seeds for the Future 2021 was attended by key officials from Government Ministries, partner universities, diplomatic representatives in the participating countries, the 2021 cohort of students and representatives of the 2020 graduating class.
All the speakers reiterated the importance for young people to know more about the telecom industry, and to acquire skills for their personal and professional development through access to quality tools, necessary to engage in specific areas of the economy with high potential sources of employment.
Huawei’s Allen Chen, VP of Public Affairs and Communications of Huawei Central America and the Caribbean, said that this year, Huawei has expanded the programme to 10 countries in Central America and the Caribbean. “We hope that these efforts will contribute more to the development of the region in order to continuously support local ICT and digital development,” he said.
Huawei has decided to integrate its efforts with a comprehensive initiative called the ICT Talent Development Plan, which aims to prepare our local young talents to lead ICT solutions and knowledge in order to contribute to the digital development of countries in the fourth industrial revolution, Chen added.
Over an eight-day period, from October 25th to November 1st, 2021, the 52 selected students will receive from recognised technological experts virtual trainings, ICT courses, and collective and Chinese culture courses in order to inspire the next generation of leaders through technology. Joining the Caribbean cohort during the training will also be students from Ghana.
China’s Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago, H.E. Fang Qiu, said that during a phone call meeting in March 2021, China’s President Xi Jinping and T&T’s Prime Minister Keith Rowley agreed “to strengthen co-operation in telecommunications and digital economy among a wide range of consensus, to achieve swift economic recovery and add impetus to the social and economic development in the post-COVID era.” He added that China “will mobilize more resources to help Trinidad & Tobago develop the ICT industry and digital economy…”
“Huawei has been in Trinidad and Tobago for 15 years and made important contributions to the ICT infrastructure and human resources,” the Ambassador continued. “The Seeds for the Future Programme seeks to develop local ICT talent, enhance knowledge-sharing and improve people’s understanding of and interest in the ICT industry.”
Speaking on behalf of the Ministry of Digital Transformation in T&T, Ms. Shelly-Ann Clarke-Hinds, Executive Manager at the Ministry said that the Seeds for the Future programme had the “the potential to significantly bolster the digital transformation of Trinidad and Tobago and fellow CARICOM countries”.
She said that the newly-formed Ministry had the mandate to champion the National Digital Transformation Agenda, founded on three pillars: Digital Economy, Digital Society and Digital Government. Adding that having a digitally-literate society was necessary to achieving this goal, she said: “I am delighted that Huawei under this signature demonstration of corporate social responsibility is providing an avenue through which graduates refine and enhance their skills that can assist the companies in which they are employed; and which at the national level can be translated into better lives for citizens, improved international competitiveness, and greater economic growth.”
Professor Brian Copeland, Pro Vice Chancellor and Campus Principal, UWI St. Augustine in Trinidad said that COVID-19 seemed to be the latest in the “many defining moments in world history that revolutionised life as humans know it,” causing technology to become “our route to survival – personally, professionally and, for some of us, economically.” In this regard, he praised initiatives such as Huawei’s Seeds for the Future initiative and the bmobile-UWI Innovation Lab powered by Huawei as “critical steps in the drive towards economic sustainability and the creation of a technologically developed nation and region.”
President of the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT), Professor Prakash Persad, said that the newly established Tech4Good Project which the programme will offer students for the first time this year, would reinforce UTT’s vision and mission of dedication to the socioeconomic transformation of Trinidad and Tobago and the UTT’s pursuit to produce work-ready graduates, innovators and critical thinkers.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the urgent need for expertise and innovation in digital transformation for the common good, and UTT is honoured to partner with Huawei and fellow tertiary institutions in answering this call,” Professor Persad said.
Jamaica’s Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Fayval Shirley Williams, told the virtual audience of over 100 persons: “This is a very good project that over the past five years has enabled young Jamaicans to develop their skills and training in ICT and greater awareness of the technology sector.” She congratulated the students for being selected, and told them: “This is a great opportunity for you to explore the wider world of Information Technology and to enhance your awareness of the many new emerging technologies. In addition, you will also have opportunities to explore Chinese cultural experiences and have cultural exchanges with peers around the world.”
Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Jamaica H.E. Tian Qi, said the Seeds for the Future program demonstrated Huawei’s continued commitment to developing ICT talent in the Caribbean, which would help the region in its economic recovery.
The Seeds for the Future 2021 has a new edition of the Tech4Good Group project, which seeks for university students to develop creative and innovation skills by applying technology as the main tool with the aim of contributing to the solution of the different challenges that arise within a community, city or country. Students will submit their projects to the jury panel in China, who will choose the best project to compete in a final phase globally.
Huawei, with this new edition of Seeds for the Future, has trained more than 9,000 students in more than 130 countries worldwide in the ICT sector, reaffirming its mission to provide educational opportunities for young people in the Caribbean region, and providing the necessary tools to help the region’s technological development and reduce the digital divide.