Driving the need for this investment is the increasingly rapid pace of digital transformation worldwide – a trend that chafes against the World Bank’s talent deficit forecast of 10 million people to 2027.
More than 170 countries have announced digital strategies (https://bit.ly/3CSIndP), and digital transformation is seen as the key to improving GDP and productivity. It is a key focus for industries including ICT, finance, manufacturing and agriculture.
The talent shortage is most pronounced in Asia but is also a concern internationally for the ICT community, governments, employers and workers. According to the International Labor Organization (https://bit.ly/3sbJDnJ), the “lack of skilled labor will constrain future growth and job creation in the sector, but with the right policies in place, the digital economy could make a significant contribution to advancing decent work and inclusive economic growth at global, regional and national levels.”
Adding to the issue is a gap in the education of ICT professionals that means their skills don’t meet industry standards. This has resulted in a lack of talent to fill roles and placed pressure on the existing workforce. A Gartner report (https://gtnr.it/3DpCmal) further explains IT executives view the shortage as “the most significant adoption barrier to 64% of emerging technologies, compared to just 4% in 2020. A lack of talent availability was cited far more often than other barriers this year, such as implementation cost (29%) or security risk (7%).”
Huawei at the coalface of building the talent ecosystem
At the forefront of digital transformation, Huawei understands delivery standards are only as good as the talent executing and that the requisite staff numbers are voluminous.
The leading global ICT company also knows the importance of nurturing talent. They’ve been doing so since launching their ICT Academy in 2013. Huawei ICT Academy program now trains more than 150,000 students annually in collaboration with around 2,000 universities and colleges in over 100 countries. Huawei also partners with top institutions such as Tsinghua University in China and Institut Teknologi Bandung in Indonesia to equip both students and teachers with knowledge and skills that are relevant to the industry’s needs. From innovation training camp to Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and the Huawei Talent platform (which includes webinars and exams), various offerings have been developed during the academic-industry collaboration.
Coursework and practical training prepare students with current state qualifications in disciplines such as routing and switching, storage, cloud, WLAN, cloud computing, and big data as well as next generation technologies including IoT, big data and cloud computing.
Huawei’s strategy is built on a holistic view that addresses the skilled labor shortage, the education gap, and the needs of ICT professionals.
It is a three-pronged approach Huawei calls the Three Trees model of talent development and which comprises three key areas:
More than 2000 Huawei ICT Academies have been set up, and over 17,000 students have passed Huawei’s certifications.
A lack of talent availability was cited far more often than other barriers this year, such as implementation cost 29% or security risk 7%
Partnerships with colleges and universities, education authorities, and international education organizations are tailored to:
- deliver leading ICT, course systems, and engineering practices
- improve teaching quality of ICT disciplines
- cultivate a culture of innovation among workers.
Huawei’s end to end talent development solution has been built hand in hand with government and industry bodies to facilitate career path development for individuals and promote digital transformation. Graduates emerge industry ready, equipped with hard and soft skills in:
- leadership and management
- cloud computing
- app development
- digital transformation for enterprises
In spite of advancements during COVID-19, the digital divide remains a global source of social inequality. According to UNICEF, 87% of young people in rich countries have internet coverage (https://bit.ly/3z0r3CN) compared to 6% in low income nations. As part of its mission to bridge this gap and promote sustainable social development, Huawei provides a talent development system through 120 authorized learning partners. Each year, 85,000 trainees are Huawei certified to help upskill the public in digital technology. More than 17,000 have entered global job market as Huawei Certified ICT Expert (HCIE) since the commencement of the certification system.
UNESCO is just one success story in the ICT talent ecosystem. “UNESCO is committed to making digital technology a tool for progress in all its fields of competence,” says Firmin Edouard Matoko, Assistant Director-General for Priority Africa and External Relations of UNESCO. “Thanks to its partnerships with industry leaders such as Huawei, the organization is working toward linking educational institutions with private partners.”
Competitions and educational opportunities
Launched in 2015, Huawei’s annual ICT competitions are an integral part of the talent cultivation lifecycle, providing aspiring ICT professionals with exposure to industry best practices and trends. ICT Academy students who complete their training and go to internships are eligible to participate in the ICT competitions where the brightest minds compete to create innovative digital applications and products.
Huawei also offers its Seeds for the Future program to STEM students, who go to the company’s Chinese headquarters to study leading-edge ICT technology in a cross-cultural setting.
Emmanuel Lucas Chaula, an ICT professional in his homeland of Tanzania and part-time Huawei ICT Academy instructor, is a beneficiary of Huawei’s mission to foster a breeding ground of talent. Four years ago, as a student, he participated in Huawei ICT competition. He attended training sessions and learned about new technologies. He won the first prize in the Southern Africa region and later Outstanding Performance in the global final.
After the Competition, Emanuel joined Huawei’s free Train the Trainer Program. He now teaches others about Huawei’s technologies, and helps students acquire the ICT skills to succeed.
Huawei will continue building this ICT talent ecosystem with a target of training more than 1 million ICT professionals and experts by 2024 (https://bit.ly/3ShICoF), working with governments, industry organizations, and universities to develop a global future-ready workforce that creates new value for the industry.