Huawei this week held an event at its Johannesburg campus honouring the winners of the South African iteration of its annual Huawei ICT Competition. At the same event, it kicked off the programme for its 2023 ICT Academy.
The 2022 – 2023 ICT Competition is an ICT talent exchange event developed by Huawei for global college and university students. More than 5 000 students from South African tertiary institutions enrolled in the competition, with the top 53 students awarded during this ceremony.
The national finalists come from some of South Africa’s top universities such as the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), the University of Johannesburg (UJ), the University of Kwa Zulu Natal (UKZN), the University of Pretoria, the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), Rhodes University, and more. Others come from leading colleges such as Goldfields, Capricon, and Maluti TVET colleges.
With the South African technology sector facing a serious skills shortage, initiatives like the ICT Competition provide a powerful incentive for students in relevant fields to pick up additional skills, further bridging the gap between tertiary education and the workplace. It is just one of a series of initiatives developed by Huawei with the aim of growing South Africa’s technology skills base.
“In 2022, we made really good progress,” said Shawn Huxiaotong, Service & Delivery and Talent Ecosystem Director of Huawei Enterprise South Africa. “To date, more than 72 academic institutions have enrolled in the programme across all nine provinces, with more than 2700 students and lecturers participating in Huawei ICT certification training, and more than 2100 students successfully obtaining Huawei certificates.”
“ICT is one of the key sectors for the country’s development and this is among the reasons why we need to give more opportunities to upcoming ICT engineers and innovators,” he added. “Our wish is to see more universities, and educational institutions deepening their cooperation in training ICT talent in order to achieve even greater results!”
“I would like to acknowledge the specific impact of the Huawei ICT Competition on the University of Limpopo,” says Prof. Velempini Mthulisi, who coordinates the programme at that institution.
“This is an innovative programme which upskills our students, as well as giving them the experience of being in a competitive space and working under pressure.”
“Gone are the days where one hires a student who claims to be able to work under pressure but has never been in an environment with pressure,” he adds. “Huawei has blessed the University of Limpopo with so many innovative programmes which help us not only produce graduates in the IT space, but ensure that every UL student is computer literate.”
“Looking back, I would’ve never imagined that what started as a simple interaction with Huawei at Wits during a career fair would turn out to be perhaps the single most important interaction I would have in probably my entire academic career,” said Golden Mthimunye, who walked away with a Top Achiever award in the Networking category.
“I’d like to express my sincere gratitude to Huawei, the people who made all of this possible,” the third-year Wits student added. “On behalf of the competitors, we thank you for the contribution you have made, and continue to make, to the development and subsequent nurturing of tech talent in this country.”
Through the Huawei ICT Competition, I was provided with a platform to compete in a healthy exchange of ideas, thus enhancing my theoretical and practical ICT knowledge, as well as increasing my ability to innovate by using new technologies and platforms,” said Neo Onica Matsobane, a Masters student at Wits who walked away with a Top Achiever award in the Cloud track.
Huawei will look to build on the success of the 2022-2023 ICT Competition by adding to the number of certified instructors, so that it has at least one per academy. It also wants to ensure that there are at least 120 students participating at each academy and 100 students per academy participating in the ICT Competition. As Huawei looks to build those numbers, it has announced a number of incentives – including training and discounts on equipment – for instructors and students alike.
“It is important that we take a brief moment to look back at the achievements of last year and also look forward to producing better results over the remainder of this year,” Huxiatong concluded.