Scarce skills have been a subject of conversation in South Africa for as long as we can remember. In recent years the skills that are increasingly in demand are within the ICT sector.

At Leaderex 2019, the Institute of Information Technology Professionals South Africa said that there is not enough investment in basic education to create the pool of ICT skills South Africa needs.

One company looking to address this shortage of skills is Huawei.

Together with the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies, the Chinese behemoth is investing in skills development through its Seeds for the Future programme.

As 2020 has been marred by COVID-19, this year’s edition of Seeds for the Future will be taking place online.

Well get to the Seeds for the Future in a second though because Huawei has announced something rather admirable.

During the launch of the initiative last week, Huawei announced that it would be offering artificial intelligence training to university and TVET college students.

The telecoms firm says that 122 local students will take part in this course and should be able to design, develop and launch AI products by the time they are done.

While Huawei didn’t share where these students are studying, we must commend the firm for giving those students the chance to learn about an emerging technology that many of use take for granted.

Circling back to Seeds for the Future, the initiative has been endorsed by celebrity lunch diner and minister of communications and digital technologies herself, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams.

“Initiatives like Seeds of the Future give hope to South Africa,” the minister said, “You represent a new brigade, which will drive the Fourth Industrial Revolution we are committed to. We can’t do it without you.”

As many as 50 students will take part in Seeds for the Future 2020 by way of the internet. The participants will receive training in 5G broadband, cloud computing and the Internet of Things.

The training will take place online in the form of live streamed lectures paired with course material uploaded to the web.