The 2021 Huawei Seeds for the Future training program kicked off yesterday after selecting 60 top students from different local universities into the program.
This is the seventh cohort of students to go through the program since it started in 2014 and the second cohort to receive training virtually.
They were selected in a rigorous application process undertaken by Huawei and ICT Authority from over 300 applications.
The Ministry of ICT, through the ICT Authority, have been a collaborating partner with Huawei in Kenya since the first cohort in 2014.
In his keynote address Friday, ICT and innovations Principal Secretary Jerome Ochieng said that an elite digitally skilled workforce will support the country’s objective of developing and consuming homegrown ideas, innovations and solutions that will deepen its digital and economic practices and thereafter enhance our place in Kenya’s tech ecosystem.
“I wish to thank Huawei for working closely with the government over the years and for developing the Seeds for The Future program as part of their contribution towards supporting our digital transformation agenda,” he added.
The Ministry of ICT, Innovation and youth Affairs has partnered with Huawei to build more advanced infrastructure in the country and to bridge the digital divide through various programs including PDTP and Ajira.
This year’s students will participate in the newly launched Tech4Good project which aims at challenging them to examine how to leverage technology to address the region’s persistent social and environmental issues.
It will also encourage students to increase their social entrepreneurship, problem solving and leadership skills through collaboration and team work with students from participating countries globally.
The Seeds for The Future training program aim to cultivate local ICT talent by enhancing knowledge transfer at local and international level, promoting greater understanding and interest in the technology field and encouraging participation in the country’s growing digital economy.
By sharing ICT expertise and experiences in the global business environment, young people globally can learn about advanced technologies in the ICT industry and accumulate ICT expertise and skills through the Seeds for the Future program, contributing to the progress of the global ICT industry and the Kenyan students will be studying online alongside their counterparts from Qatar.
The students will undergo an intense 8-days virtual training covering both mandatory and elective courses on emerging technologies such as 5G, Artificial Intelligence, cloud, while exploring hot industry topics such as business, trade and globalization, macro-economic policies and Chinese culture.
Under the Tech4Good Project, the students will present their projects to a panel of judges, out of which the top 10 global teams will be shortlisted to compete in a global final competition at the end of the year.
“Skilled professionals are crucial for the growth and development of our country,” said Huawei Kenya CEO Will Meng during the opening ceremony.
He also reiterated that Huawei continues to create opportunities for beneficiaries to harness.
According to the recently released draft Digital Economy Strategy for Kenya, Digital Skills are a critical part of the country’s efforts to grow the digital economy, this includes digital skills for professionals, partnerships to train on key strategic competencies, and access to digital skills for citizens to participate in the digital economy.
The Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs has worked closely with Huawei several years to implement the Seeds for the Future program as well as other initiatives related to digital skills.
In his remarks, Prof Thiong’o representing the JKUAT Vice Chancellor Prof Victoria Ngumi in absentia stated that JKUAT is keen and committed in establishing strategic University-industry collaborations, which are beneficial to students, staff and the Country at large.
“JKUAT has closely worked with Huawei on many training programs. This close cooperation has enabled the University reach new milestones,” he further added.
Talent is crucial for the growth and development of any industry and the rapidly growing ICT industry has greatly changed business models and customer requirements.
As a result, across the ICT ecosystem there is an urgent need for large numbers of technical staff who can address the challenges posed by this transformation and help the country take advantage of new technologies.
Betty Kutto a student representative from the 2021 cohort selected from the more than 300 applications received, expressed her anticipation and excitement to start the training “I believe there is no better place to get knowledge to better the understanding of my career in technology than having these experience with Huawei.” she stated.
Last year the virtual Seeds for the Future program reached over 3,000 students from across 103 countries and regions tripling the number of annual participants, the number is deemed to increase in 2021.
Seeds for the Future program ultimately seeks to develop local ICT talent, enhance knowledge transfer, promote a greater understanding of and interest in the technology sector, and encourage regional participation in Kenya’s growing digital community.
By Hamdi Mohamud