While we wait for government to make the necessary spectrum available for 5G, firms like Huawei are taking steps that we have the required skills to work with the technology when it is finally brought to the fore locally.

To that end last week Huawei announced a 5G training partnership with Walter Sisulu University and the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies (DCDT).

The launch is part of an ongoing campaign by Huawei to help South Africa’s young people understand the possibilities of 5G, while giving them the skills to realise that vision, the firm explains.

Logistically the initiative aims to offer 5G training up to 5 000 students online and 1000 students onsite, with it having started at two other local universities last year – Wits University and the University of Pretoria.

“We’re proud to partner with Walter Sisulu University,” said Huawei SA CEO Spawn Fan.

“We appreciate that WSU is a developmental university, focused on urban renewal and rural development through science, technology and innovation, which aligns perfectly with Huawei’s vision,” adds Fan.

This initiative forms part of Huawei’s ICT Talent Ecosystem Program, which is designed to grow and support ICT training in South Africa, especially in the latest technologies of 5G, artificial intelligence as well as cloud and data Services, the firm notes.

“Digital skills transfer is critical for today’s students to gain capabilities relevant in the emerging 4IR era. This era is underpinned by the mass connectivity of 5G – hence Huawei’s commitment to 5G training,” Fan points out.

The CEO also highlighted that 5G is a key part of 4IR, adding that research predicts that by 2020, 70 percent of all jobs would have an information and communications technology component.

As such initiatives like this will prove crucial moving forward, if South Africa is to create the necessary skills it needs natively.

“This 5G training comes at an opportune time as we are seized with preparing South Africa for the licensing of IMT Spectrum. We will therefore need a capable army that is equipped with relevant skills to assist government in achieving its mandate of ensuring that South Africa is poised to aptly respond to 4IR requirements,” adds DCDT minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, who was in attendance at last week’s launch.

“As South Africa moves into the 4IR, no one must be left behind. South Africa’s young people have the potential to mature into world-class experts. By enhancing industry-academic cooperation, Huawei hopes to help South Africa achieve its development goals,” concluded Fan.