They say that a society thrives only when older generations plant the seeds of trees whose shade they may never enjoy. 2018 marks the 10th year anniversary of Huawei’s flagship Seeds for the Future program, an initiative that aims to do exactly that – plant seeds for future prosperity by helping to cultivate young talent and build bridges between countries and cultures.
Through university partnerships and outreach, 4,725 students from 108 nations had completed the program as of year-end 2018.
In this post, I talk about why we run the Seeds for the Future program.
Did you know…?
- The demand and supply ratio of AI talent sits at 100:1.
- 4 in 10 companies report that a lack of data analysis skills is a major problem in their business development.
- The OECD estimates that gender-based discrimination costs the global economy a staggering US$12 trillion per year.
- A World Economic Forum survey spanning 15 regions and 9 industries found that businesses believe that “Collaboration” will be the 6th most important skill required by staff in the working world of 2020.
The current acute shortage of tech talent, especially data scientists and AI experts, is exacerbated by the barriers that prevent many women from fully contributing to the global economy. Together, they are dual bottlenecks hindering ICT development.
Holy Ranaivozanany, director of Huawei’s Seeds for the Future program, is spearheading the company’s mission to help young people succeed and empower young women, “One of our goals with Seeds for the future is to encourage more women in STEM careers, foster new ICT talent, and connect the world through cross-cultural exchange,” Holy explains.
Holy Ranaivozanany, director of Huawei’s Seeds for the Future program
As the globe becomes more collaborative, working with people from different backgrounds in a new environment is not only increasing in importance, as shown by the OECD survey, but one of the features that students feel yields the most value. “I get e-mails from students all the time, telling me about how much they enjoyed the program,” says project manager Olivia Zhang. “Everyone learns so much from the cross-cultural environment, building skills and gaining knowledge that will benefit them for years to come. We build friendships that will last a lifetime.”
Olivia Zhang, project manager for Seeds for the Future
A Program Geared Toward the Future of Tech
The Seeds for the Future program is one way that Huawei helps prepare young people for an increasingly complex, multi-cultural, and intelligent world.
This is especially relevant today. As 5G is adopted across the world over the next few years and begins to converge with cloud, big data, IoT, and AI, major changes will be seen across all industries. Developments like driverless cars, telemedicine, Industry 4.0, and cloud VR/AR will move from sci-fi to everyday life.
As industry verticals evolve, the demand for tech talent will also increase and evolve.
Technology is changing so rapidly right now that a large proportion of the jobs that young people will hold in the future likely don’t even exist yet. That’s why cross-cultural adaptability and tech skills are going to be so critical to success in the coming years.
With its vision to bring digital to every person, home, and organization for a fully connected, intelligent world, Huawei is making sure that the tech-savvy and change-resilient young people who participate in the Seeds for the Future program have the skills and mindsets needed to be competitive in the workplaces of the future.
For a deeper analysis on how jobs are changing and the skills that employers value, read this post, “Is Education Today Delivering the Skills We Need Tomorrow?”
The typical student who participates in Seeds for the Future is highly motivated and ambitious, wanting to bring what they learn back to their home countries. “One thing that I learned while in China and that’s something I want to be involved implementing in my home country is mobile payments,” says recent participant Hichem Amimoussi from Algeria. “I want to think of a way to implement mobile payments in Algeria, especially for students.”
Georgios Moschovis from Athens University of Economics & Business, Greece has similar ideas. “Healthcare systems are often resource-strapped in Greece, especially in the provinces,” he explains. “Doctors are often scarce and hospitals are mostly located in the largest cities. This situation could be improved by installing fully equipped health centers in the closest urban areas and integrating a smart healthcare system offering online guidance from good doctors. All instructions could be collected on a cloud database for further enhancement and reuse.”
Ideas like these have the potential to change the world – one industry and one country at a time. These are the seeds being planted every week through the Seeds for the Future program.
The Next 10 Years
Looking ahead, Huawei will continue its commitment to Seeds for the Future. 2019 is set to be an exciting time for the program, with several new initiatives underway, including the following two: (1) A new lab designed to give students hands-on experience with 5G technology and (2) The chance to join local volunteer activities in Shenzhen.
Just like planting the seeds of a giant tree, when young talent is made a priority and given a chance to bloom, future success and rich harvests are guaranteed. Let’s look forward to the next ten years of Seeds for the Future!
For more information about the origin and development of the program, watch this video on Seeds for the Future. And click here for more information on what else Huawei is doing to bridge the talent gap in AI.