IF ANYONE was minded to wonder why Huawei would invest millions in its Seeds of the Future programme, Valene Rampersad’s presentation at the celebration of the fourth local instance of the event should settle all questions.
Rampersad was the only woman among the group of six students from UWI selected for the inaugural Seeds of the Future programme in TT.
Four years later, she works for Huawei and at last week’s event celebrating the journey of the fourth group to visit China under the programme, Rampersad was presented with an Excellent Achiever Award by Harry Bai, vice-president of Huawei Latin America and president of Central America and the Caribbean.
Rampersad has also gone on to be part of the selection team for the groups selected in 2018 and 2019 and credits the experience for helping her get a more global view of the ICT sector and focusing her studies when she returned.
“The work study experience in China was world class,” Rampersad told the audience gathered at the Chinese Embassy for last week’ event.
“There needs to be more collaboration between the private sector, the public sector and universities to offer more opportunities like this in the ICT sector.”
While Huawei might have started Seeds of the Future as a CSR and engagement programme, the graduates are likely to become valuable champions of the company when it needs champions (http://ow.ly/dNY030oVk5W).
TT was the first country from the English-speaking Caribbean to participate in the Seeds programme and by this year, 30 students had experienced the two-week immersion, part of it cultural, the rest a deep dive into the new technologies that Huawei is developing for the telecommunications market.
That’s a small slice of the thousands of students from 110 countries and more than 400 universities that have taken part in the Seeds programme and this year the TT students were joined by groups from Myanmar and Papua New Guinea for their sessions.
“ICT students need a bridge between what is learned in the classroom and what is done in the workplace,” said Tricia Henry, public relations manager of Huawei TT.
“We hope to improve and develop ICT use in Trinidad and Tobago.”
That enthusiasm appears to have been stoked in the ten students from UWI and UTT who attended this year’s immersion.
Speaking on behalf of her peers in the programme, Termisha Hercules said, “We learned responsibility, time management and how to be our brother’s keeper.
“We all had one objective, to take what we learned and to make a difference in our country.”
Among the projects the group hopes to explore are initiatives in smart agriculture and smart transport management, building on the concepts and technologies they were exposed to during their China visit.
Huawei has been building infrastructure in TT over the last 13 years and speaking on behalf of TSTT, a long-term customer of the company, Ian Galt pointed out some of the possibilities of the sector.
“The possibilities for students in ICT are infinite. There are opportunities that offer the greatest number of people an opportunity to embrace and leverage these new and emerging technologies.”
Galt announced TSTT’s intention to introduce the first 5G mobile broadband network in TT in December.
“Our sector is driven by a wide range of needs for talent,” he said.
“Today’s professionals must not only have a high level of technology knowledge, they must marry that with business and management skills. The sector remains buoyant and active.”
Mark Lyndersay is the editor of technewstt.com. An expanded version of this column can be found there