Huawei South Africa has committed R7 million in bursaries to support 48 top ICT students at 5 universities, as part of its wider ICT Talent Ecosystem, which aims to grow and support ICT skills training and skills transfer in South Africa.
The ICT sector, especially mobile telecommunications, is a scarce skills sector in South Africa. The number of students in ICT related courses is still low and competition for young recruits is fierce. In awarding these bursaries, Huawei aims to address some of the challenges it’s faced when it comes to recruiting in South Africa. The programme offers students from disadvantaged backgrounds an opportunity to flourish and accomplish their aspirations and academic goals.
“We believe that South Africa’s talented young people have the potential to mature into world-class experts,” says Kian Chen, Huawei SA, Deputy CEO. “By enhancing industry-academic cooperation, we, as an international ICT company, hope to make our contribution to achieving the country’s development goals.”
The candidates are drawn from the University of Pretoria, Wits University, University of KwaZulu-Natal, University of Western Cape and the University of Cape Town.
Speaking at the University of Pretoria’s bursary awards ceremony, Professor Anton Ströh, UP’s Vice-Principal: Research, Innovation and Postgraduate Education, said the institution is grateful for Huawei’s support in sponsoring some of its ICT and engineering students over the years.
“The University of Pretoria is a multidisciplinary research institution, and we look forward to further collaborations with Huawei. We also offer a huge congratulations to the recipients of the bursaries and wish them well in their studies.”
Huawei believes corporates have an important role to play in the local education system, hence its ICT Talent Ecosystem runs across both university and TVET colleges.
The company has committed to train 6000 ICT students from universities and TVET colleges in technologies like 5G, Cloud and AI. It also runs the Huawei ICT Academy in more than 50 universities and colleges in South Africa.
Students who successfully complete the course, receive a professionally accredited certification, which helps them when they enter the job market. Huawei also runs its flagship CSR programme Seeds for the Future in South Africa, since its inception in 2016 more than 70 students have benefited from this technology and culture study annual programme.
Students welcome the opportunity to study further
“This bursary was the only way I was able to do postgraduate studies,” says Fezile Nkosi, who is pursuing a Master’s degree in Information Science at University of Pretoria. “If it were not for the bursary, I would be job hunting right now. Instead, I’m doing my Masters, which has always been my dream”.
For Hector Motsepe, who is pursuing a BSC Honours in Information Technology, the bursary is equally meaningful.
“The bursary means a lot, especially given the challenges of the last year,” he says. “COVID-19 saw a lot of parents losing their jobs and made job security even more of a worry. The bursary helps with those worries. I also appreciate that Huawei encourages us to get additional certification as part of the programme.”
“We know that we have to get more students to take up STEM courses (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) in South Africa, says Chen. “As Huawei, we’re proud to be part of building those numbers and ensuring that those who do take those courses are as well equipped to enter the workplace as possible”.