On July 8, 2021, Huawei launched its 2020 Sustainability Report and announced its Seeds for the Future Program 2.0, through which Huawei plans to invest US$150 million globally in digital talent development over the next five years. This program is expected to benefit more than 3 million additional people.
The Seeds for the Future Program, which has welcomed more than 9,000 students from over 500 global universities, was introduced to Trinidad and Tobago in 2016. Since then, Huawei T&T has collaborated with the University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine and the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) to provide STEM students with the opportunity to participate in the initiative. To date, 50 T&T students have graduated from the program.
Establishing a more in-depth and hands-on understanding of the latest in digital innovation, products and solutions, the program is designed to nurture young T&T talent within the Information Communication Technology (ICT) Sector. It also allows the participants to gain cross-cultural experience in a global business environment.
In 2021, Seeds for the Future will continue as an all-online immersive program and will have its 6th year in T&T, scheduled to run from October 25 to November 1, 2021.
Promoting equal access to education and talent development
In the digital economy, digital talent is playing an increasingly important role in driving digital transformation and economic growth, leading to many asking how we can drive equity and quality in education and foster more skilled digital workforces.
“Digital skills and literacy are not just the foundation for the digital economy; they are also a basic human right defined by the United Nations,” said Huawei’s Chairman Liang Hua at the forum. “Today we are announcing Huawei’s Seeds for the Future Program 2.0. As part of our commitment to continuously developing talent, we will invest US$150 million in this program over the next five years and help college students and young people improve their digital skills. This program is expected to benefit more than 3 million additional people.”
Huawei is committed to helping develop digital talent in the countries where it operates. In 2008, Huawei began to roll out talent development programs, through scholarships, technology competitions, and digital skills training, and has invested more than US$150 million in these programs. Huawei has since benefited more than 1.54 million people from over 150 countries.
According to a 2020 report by UNICEF and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), about 2.2 billion people aged 25 years or younger still lack internet connections at home. This has undoubtedly exacerbated the digital divide plaguing many of the world’s most vulnerable. Speaking at the Forum, Ban Ki Moon Center for Global Citizenship Board Member and former UNESCO Director-General, Ms. Irina Bokova highlighted this concern saying “The digital divide impacts women more than men. Women have less access to the internet and this gap is widening. Women are now four times less likely than men to be digitally literate and represent just 6% of software developers. 170 years are needed to close the economic gender gap between men and women.”
Huawei’s Senior Vice President of Global Government Affairs, Ms. Afke Schaart, also spoke at the event about how digital technologies will play an integral role in promoting inclusiveness and equality, saying, “From our 2020 Sustainability Report, you can see that Huawei had launched programs like HUAWEI4HER and TECH4HER to help women improve their ICT skills and promote gender equality across the industry.”
Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE) Senior Advisor and Mission Innovation’s Net-Zero Compatible Innovation Initiative Head, Mr. Dennis Pamlin pointed out that digitalization has greatly reduced the cost of education and information access, and digital solutions will help transform education systems worldwide. Online teaching has already become the new normal, creating new opportunities for global education systems.
Other industry leaders present at the forum included World Economic Forum Managing Director, Dominic Waughray; GeSI’s Global CEO Luis Neves; Singapore Institute of International Affairs Chairman and Singapore National Environment Agency Former Chairman, Mr. Simon Tay; and member of the Executive Committee at the World Economic Forum, Mr. Sean de Cleene.
Link to the Tech & Sustainability: Everyone’s Included forum:
Link to the Huawei 2020 Sustainability Report:
Link to the Innovation: Blood Sweat and Dreams documentary series: