How Huawei’s ICT Skill Competition is helping to prepare the region’s youth for the future of technology at a time when disruption is happening at light speed
By Charles Yang, President of Middle East Region, Huawei
Never before has the vast pool of humanity’s knowledge been so accessible to so many. The internet is connecting people, businesses, nations, and things to each other, enabling communication, processing and storage of data at an exponentially growing scale.
With the large amount of connections, the human society enters the Cloud era. By 2025, 85% of all enterprise applications will move to the Cloud, and all the enterprises will harness the Cloud power. Taking it a step further, new technologies like AI and machine learning could be developed in that platform – this would mark a major technological revolution in human history.
The development of these new technologies, and their impact on GDP, serves only as an indicator for what the future holds for digitally prepared nations. Those that are quick to adopt new technologies will profit from the resulting opportunities for innovation. Those that are slow to react will find themselves struggling to compete in global markets and rankings.
One of the key drivers for early adoption of new technologies is emerging talent, with a keen eye for economic, environmental, and social change. The up and coming generations are problem solvers. They seek improvement, personally and collectively. The impact they can have on the global economy is huge, but they require nurturing, educating, and investing in. As a global ICT leader, Huawei is passionate about developing the ICT talent ecosystem through knowledge transfer and increasing students’ interest in the ICT industry.
According to an October 2016 McKinsey report on ‘Digital Middle East’, just 1.7 per cent of the Middle East workforce is digital talent. This percentage is more than double for the United States and Europe. Technologically fluent populations that know how to adapt to new technologies relevant to their business needs will show themselves as leaders in the digital future.
As governments across the Middle East look to reduce their reliance on oil and seek to diversify into knowledge-based economies, they have developed noteworthy visions for 2021 onwards, to harness the power of digitalisation for the future of their economies and happiness of their communities. Being in the Middle East region for 17 years, Huawei has always aimed to support the region’s national agendas. A new evolution that Huawei considers to be important for the region to help qualify the future leaders is: knowledge transfer and enhance the local skills. This is demonstrated through several global Huawei programs that we are implementing in the Middle East.
The latest example is our “2017 ICT Skill Competition”, which encourages students across the Middle East to educate themselves in ICT technologies. This initiative is designed to bridge the gap between the classroom and the workplace, improving students’ future employment opportunities. In the past, the competition has attracted top talent globally, with competitors hailing from countries ranging from the Netherlands to Malaysia to Pakistan.
This year’s competition will include contestants from 80 universities across 10 countries in the region will be tested on the latest ICT developments and international trends. More than thirty deserving participants of the competition will experience technology and innovation like never before when they travel to Shenzhen - China’s Silicon Valley – to interact, train, learn, and share the knowledge between all participants. In addition they will also interact with other contestants from all around the world and compete for exciting prizes.
Huawei believes that it has a responsibility to develop the local markets in the Middle East, and the ICT Skill Competition represents a great platform to unite the skilled students and encourage them to develop their ICT knowledge by having an open communication between all participants. The competition increases national competitiveness and contributes to achieving countries’ economic growth. This also allows Huawei to keep its promise in supporting national visions, and taking one more step towards achieving Huawei’s vision of building a better connected world.
Another such initiative, ‘Seeds for the Future’ is Huawei’s global flagship programme that selects skilled college students and young government officials working in ICT-related departments for a study trip in China. Over the course of the programme, Huawei shares its ICT expertise and experience in managing a multinational with young ICT professionals, and helps fuel the development of local ICT ecosystem.
In addition, the Huawei Authorised Information and Network Academy (HAINA) is an academic platform that is authorised to deliver Huawei training programmes to students across the region. Becoming a HAINA academy enriches academic programmes through the latest industry trends, and helps students develop competitive skills to be used in their professional careers.
We firmly believe that the development of a digital advanced economy and society relies on the skills on the young generation. By nurturing their talents, we are building a better future with long-term economic, social, and environmental sustainability for the Middle East.