Huawei ICT Academies
: L-R: Huawei EBG President, Liao Yong; Higher Education Minister, Dr Blade Nzimande; SAPCO President Sanele Mlotshwa; Huawei SA Dep CEO, Kian Chen.

An innovative partnership between the South African Public Colleges Organisation (SAPCO), the Department of Higher Education and Huawei has led to the opening of 33 ICT academies at TVET colleges across South Africa, in an initiative that will boost inclusive digital skills transfer for SA’s young people.

The opening of the academies was announced today at the SAPCO national general council event in Ekurhuleni. The initiative sees 33 Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges enrolled in the Huawei ICT Academy programme across all nine provinces, with more than 300 students and lecturers having already participated in Huawei ICT certification training.

Speaking at the event, Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology Dr Blade Nzimande praised the initiative, saying that the programme “acts as a bridge between enterprises and academy to build a talent ecosystem for the ICT industry, and is a wonderful example of the college-industry partnership that is so vital for our vocational education and skills development system”.

“Our strategic goal is to help create a capable workforce that should support an inclusive growth path to meet the needs of our society, especially those of our economy,” said Dr Nzimande. “Technical and Vocational Education is a vital component of our post-school and training system due to its importance in helping students to develop the technical and practical skills needed to improve their livelihoods and to be competitive in today’s ever-changing world.”

Dr Nzimande presented Huawei ICT Academy certificate plaques to representatives of participating TVETs, as well as certified instructor certificates and excellent student awards.

“Today I remain honoured that the Huawei ICT Academy continues to record significant successes,” said Dr Nzimande. “The programme has been designed to deliver standard certification courses required by the employers. These courses prepare our students with the latest technology and practical skills to work in the ICT industry, making them more employable and helping to kickstart their careers.”

The Huawei ICT Academy offers Huawei certification training online and in classrooms; it provides instructor training; it supports training plan design and curriculum integration; and it helps to maintain high training standards and participation rates across the ICT sector.

SAPCO president Sanele Mlotshwa said the Huawei-SACPO partnership was more relevant than ever as the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) gained speed.

“The 4IR affects all industries,” he said. “We thank Huawei for the opportunity to operate these academies. “They will have a significant impact on the sector at large and on how we embrace these global changes.”

Liao Yong, President of Huawei Southern Africa Enterprise Business Group, agreed that partnerships between academia and industry could help close the gap between industry requirements and talent capability.

“To achieve an intelligent, fully connected digital world, the ICT industry requires trained professionals,” said Yong. “As the 4IR takes hold, technology such as artificial intelligence, the internet of things, and cloud computing are coming to the fore. We are grateful to have found partners in SACPO and the Department of Higher Education to achieve our vision of building skills in these fields.”

The opening of the ICT academies is the latest initiative in Huawei’s ongoing development and promotion of ICT talent. It follows the Huawei ICT Academy Job fair in November, where local Huawei-certified ICT Talent are introduced to Huawei partners with an eye to finding jobs in the industry.

Yong said the Huawei ICT Academy programme exposed learners to the latest industrial certification and training, while the jobs fair recognised that the ultimate goal of talent development was long-term employment.

“Huawei is focused on building an open, collaborative and mutually beneficial talent ecosystem with the goal of digital inclusion – to help more people benefit from digital technology than ever before,” said Yong.

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