Bursay beneficiaries Mpho Modise and Amanda Mbhele, who both now work for Huawei, with Mohammed Bismilla, Head of the bursary programme.

JULY 15 is World Youth Skills Day. And tech giant Huawei has revealed recipients of its 2022 bursary award programme, proving its ongoing commitment to growing South Africa’s ICT talent base.

On this day, the world celebrates the strategic importance of equipping young people with skills for employment, decent work, and entrepreneurship. And that’s what the Huawei Bursary Programme seeks to achieve.

The bursaries are awarded to top-achieving students studying ICT-relevant subjects at Huawei’s partner universities, and are designed to help ensure that they have the skills needed to become future innovators and technology thought leaders.

This year the tech giant awarded 44 bursaries to students from six universities. 

By the end of the year, it will have awarded bursaries to a further 11 students, bringing the total to 55.

The programme was launched in 2019. And so far, R23.5 million in, approximately 184 students have benefitted.

Daniel Jiang, Human Resource Director, Huawei South Africa, explained why Huawei is so committed to developing youth ICT talent.

Jiang quoted former president Nelson Mandela’s 1996 speech at the inauguration of the Academy of Science of South Africa.

Said Mandela then: “On your shoulders rests the challenge of giving science a face that inspires our youth to seek out science, engineering and technology.’’

Jiang said: “As we move towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution and more than two decades later, Mandela’s words still ring true. Huawei South Africa has several initiatives to empower and upskill young South Africans so that they can positively contribute to the local digital economy.”

He added: “This is a long-term investment for Huawei and is part of our ICT talent ecosystem programme to develop and mature our young generation of ICT practitioners into world-class experts.

“As a company, it is an honour to invest in future technology innovators and thought leaders,” he said. “It is also rewarding to see young, ambitious people investing in their futures.” 

But Huawei couldn’t have done this without partner universities, he added. “Special thanks and appreciation to all the universities for playing a pivotal role in developing these remarkable students,” he said.

Mohammed Bismilla, Head of the Huawei Bursary Programme, is recognized among the most influential recruiters by SAGEA– for the third consecutive year running.

“Your institutions play a significant role in nurturing future greats,” he said.

Bismilla announced that Walter Sisulu University (WSU) and North West University (NWU) had been added to the list of tertiary institution partners.

“Huawei is seriously invested in South Africa’s youth. Our bursary programme is one of the mechanisms we use to ensure that South Africa’s top ICT talent are supported to achieve their personal ambitions & contribute to the greater ICT sector, which will form the future economy of our country,” he said.

Participants in the bursary programme are offered the chance to participate in Huawei’s graduate programme, which looks to take on between 60 and 70 graduates a year, who are then placed in different parts of the business. 

Amanda Mbehle is one of the beneficiary of both the bursary and graduate programmes.

Now a product manager at Huawei, she was selected for the bursary programme while studying for an Honours degree in Information Science in 2018 and joined the graduate programme in 2019.

She said: “Huawei has always embraced an active, open, and diverse talent development culture. We want to give talented, young people as many opportunities as possible.”

Mpho Modise also benefitted from the programme and is now an assistant product manager at the company.

“As a graduate coming into the workforce, you have to work hard and gain your colleagues’ trust,” he said. “But over time, your teammates will realise the potential you have and trust you with more projects.”

He hailed Huawei’s culture of innovation and the effort it puts into making all team members feel appreciated as highlights of his time working for the company to date.

Jeffrey Mashele, a 2022 bursary recipient, is from the small township of Pienaar, near Nelspruit in Mpumalanga. Mahsele is completing an undergraduate degree in computer science and information technology (IT) at the University of KwaZulu Natal.

“Having the bursary has already relieved me from having to worry about university fees and other financial issues that students face in tertiary education,” he said.

“This has given me a chance to fully dedicate myself to my studies. The bursary will also provide me an opportunity to join Huawei and I believe the organisation is an ideal environment for me to enhance my knowledge and skills which will get me closer to achieving my goals.”

Libhongo Mko (21), from Mdantsane in East London, is currently enrolled at the University of Cape Town for a degree in Computer Science and Business Computing.

“I have a vision of developing my community to have an affordable stable network connection since we are currently faced with bad network connectivity,” he said.

“I believe that the Huawei bursary will help me in achieving my goals as the company has network engineering positions which is my dream job and provides a platform for people to learn new skills.”

Gabriella Ndhlovu, who is studying at Wits, said: “The opportunity afforded to me through the Huawei bursary enabled me to finish my degree on time, when I financially had no other means to do so.

“With Huawei’s involvement in the field of 5G networking and the fourth industrial revolution, I am able to grow my knowledge and apply my own aspirations in this field.” – Zambezi News