Over the past few years there have been many discussions on preparing South Africa for emerging technologies, and the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) in particular has come into focus of late, as President Ramaphosa earlier this year appointing a commission on 4IR.

In his State of the Nation Address (SONA), he emphasised on the importance of training the youth in much-needed skills for 4IR, as well as asking the private sector to work with government to upskill young people.

Doing its part in helping improve youth with ICT skills is Huawei. In May the mobile company launched a free 5G training course for ICT postgraduates at the University of Witwatersrand and University of Pretoria.

With July being Mandela Month, and in celebration of the month, Huawei South Africa continues to show support in upskilling the youth in 4IR, by hosting the Huawei Bursary Award Ceremony at the Wits University.

The event was to award a bursary worth a total of R2 million to nine postgraduate students studying IT and engineering courses at Wits.

The Bursary

The bursary programme is part of Huawei’s wider ICT talent ecosystem, which aims to grow and support ICT skills training and skills transfer in South Africa.

It also seeks to empower students for 4IR, highlighting technologies such as 5G, AI and cloud computing, all of which is viewed as reshaping the economic development of the country.

The Chinese company adds that it selected the postgraduate bursary recipients after they competed for their scholarship program.

“This year Huawei is focused on various ICT youth skills for youth as we approach the much talked about 4IR and digital economy. So we are very proud of our partnership with this noble institution which shares our vision and values for the 4IR,” explained deputy CEO of Huawei SA, Kian Chen.

“The ceremony we are witnessing today should stand as an inspiring example to individuals and organisations who are seeking a model of how to fund the growth of skills and innovation on the African continent,” noted director of postgraduate affairs at Wits, Professor Robert Muponde

Huawei adds that it collaborated with the tertiary institution because of a shared vision on the commitment to research and development as well as creating and championing globally significant research and innovation.

“Huawei, like Wits University, has chosen to invest in an area of dynamic growth, the talented youth of the African continent. Huawei made a breakthrough with practice that drives conversations of knowledge beyond expectations, the comprehensive awards they are making today are truly life changing,” added Muponde.

In closing the deputy CEO stated that as we move towards 4IR, upskilling and preparing the next generation is something Huawei takes seriously and is committed to working towards.

“It is always rewarding to see young, ambitious people confidently investing in their futures, and would personally like to applaud all of you for that, we wish our bursary recipients the best of luck in your studies and congratulations for what you have achieved so far,” Chen concluded.