(Port of Spain: December 07, 2020)

Twenty ICT students from the UWI, St Augustine and the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) were introduced to new prospects for careers in ICT by Huawei Technologies (T&T) Ltd., when they graduated from the company’s globally-run Seeds for the Future (SFTF) 2020 technology training programme on November 30, 2020.

The students, who were on-hand to receive their programme graduation certificates from Huawei T&T CEO, Jeff Jin, were the 5th consecutive cohort of graduates from T&T since the initiative started in this country in 2016.

While the initiative would normally send students to China for a two-week, hands-on ICT study programme, this year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the programme evolved to being done completely online.  This had the significant advantage of allowing Huawei to offer this immersive, intense learning opportunity to double the number of students––from the usual 10 to this time 20 students.

The short graduation ceremony also focused on giving the students the opportunity to learn more about prospects for careers in their chosen field of study, in both the public and private sector. Speaking at the ceremony, in some instances via ZOOM, were: Minister in the Ministry of Public Administration and Digital Transformation the Honourable Hassel Bacchus, CEO of the T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce Mr. Gabriel Faria, and presenters from four major companies in T&T who enlightened the students about career opportunities in ICT in various sectors.  These companies were: China Railway Construction Corporation (Caribbean) Ltd., S.C.G. (Caribbean) Group Ltd, First Caribbean Marketing Co Ltd, and FLOW.

According to Huawei’s CEO Jeff Jin, the career opportunities session formed part of Huawei’s initiative to do more ICT talent training in the future.  “We will continue to partner with the Government, private sector and universities to build Trinidad and Tobago’s human resource capacity in ICT, which will be necessary if it is to achieve its national goal of digital transformation,” Jin said.  “Also, the range of job pathways in ICT continues to expand as technology needs across all industries grows more and more.  The skills of tech professionals are transportable across diverse sectors and we thank our corporate sector partners and the Ministry of Public Administration and Digital Transformation Minister for helping us to show this to these students at the graduation.  We want to keep the partnership to continue this message going forward.”

Reiterating Government’s focused commitment to digital transformation, Minister Bacchus applauded the Huawei programme for the exposure and insights it gave students beyond what they would have had in a classroom, and he noted the students’ own new understanding of the real impact the degrees and skills they were pursuing could have on the world. “That type of exposure you can only get through programmes like this,” he noted.

The Minister also recognised the innovative and intellectual capacity of the graduating students to design solutions to solve real problems facing businesses, organisations and society.  He told the students there were a number of opportunities available to them, including through programmes which T&T has with the European Union and the World Bank.

He also emphasised that “real collaboration is the only way digital transformation will work,” and noted that the Seeds for the Future (SFTF) Programme is a good example of a collaboration that is working and bearing fruit.

Student representative Rebecca Gibbons, speaking on behalf of the programme graduates, said it was very exciting to learn from leaders in industry; and that learning about Huawei’s determination to innovate and constantly improve were lessons everyone should apply to their own personal lives and careers.

“We can use the information we learned to assist our country in achieving its goal of digital transformation, from using AI and robotics to aid farmers in ploughing fields, controlling the presence of weeds and pests and harvesting crops, to even upgrading the PTSC bus system to accept online or mobile payments and offer real-time locations of buses,” she said. “We can help T&T move forward into the future,” she said confidently.

Echoing this, recipient of the SFTF 2020 Excellent Student award, UWI’s Brandon Mohammed, said the programme has reinvigorated his passion for pursuing technology in Trinidad.  “I was looking abroad…but we have to start local to reach global…We are the ones that will help T&T catch up.”

About the Seeds for the Future Programme

Huawei’s Seeds for the Future global initiative was first launched in Thailand in 2008, 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 the end of 2019, through university partnerships and outreach, 5,773 students from 126 countries (including T&T) had completed the Programme.

2020 marked the 5th Anniversary of the Seeds for the Future programme in T&T.  Because of Covid-19, it was the first time the Programme was held all online but this facilitated increasing participation from 10 to 20 students. Three of the past participants of the Seeds for the Future have gone on to secure employment at Huawei’s T&T office in the Company’s Engineering and Product Sales teams. To date, 50 T&T students have graduated from the Programme over the five-year period.

During the one-week intense, immersive training, the students did a virtual tour of Huawei’s state-of-the-art laboratories; engaged in hands-on, practical exercises with ICT training and practice in configuring a 5G Base Station, Internet/IPTV/VOIP/Video Call experience, 3G/4G/5G Network Voice Service experience and practical lab experience.  They also engaged with industry experts discussing Advanced Cloud Computing, Overview of IOT Technologies, SmartHome, Cyber Security, the Evolving Role of ICT in the Economy, Digital Transformation, Strategic Leadership, Personal Effectiveness and Culture Awareness.

For more information on Huawei’s Seeds for the Future initiative, visit: https://www.huawei.com/minisite/seeds-for-the-future/program.html