History has shown that times of great destruction open up spaces for new creations, said former Foreign Minister of Singapore George Yeo at the closing ceremony of Huawei’s Seeds for the Future event.
The world is going through an immense evolution now with the technological revolution, he added. “Things have been destroyed everywhere, it’s destabilising society and creating new conflicts, but it also opens up a lot of spaces,” he said. These spaces in turn create opportunities for tech talents.
Experts at the closing ceremony of the Seeds for the Future summit discussed how the changing business landscape presents opportunities for tech talents. They also gave insights to how businesses and academia can nurture more talents to meet growing demands.
Changing landscape of work
George Yeo, former Foreign Minister of Singapore.
The pandemic is pushing companies to scale remote work, and accelerate digitalisation and automation, said James Pang Yan, Associate Professor at National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School and Co-Director of the NUS Business Analytics Centre.
47 per cent of work will be fully automated or done by machines by 2025, said Pang, quoting a World Economic Forum survey. This will cause a decrease of 85 million jobs in sectors such as data entry, accounting, and manufacturing by 2025.
At the same time, 97 million jobs will open up in sectors such as data analytics, AI, machine learning, and information security, highlighted Pang.
With technology transforming every day, the requirement for future tech talents is ever changing, noted Foo Fang Yong, CEO of Huawei International.
“This is why it’s important that all sectors work closely together to stay updated of the latest progress in the industry and train fresh graduates that can quickly fit into the real work environment,” he said.
“It’s about building and making accessible to each other skills and talent,” agreed Member of Parliament in East Coast and Director of Group Commercial, Raffles Medical Group, Jessica Tan. “If we know how to share talent, work together, and have a diversity of ideas… that creates a wonderful platform for people to learn,” she continued.
Nurturing Seeds for the Future
Huawei’s Seeds for the Future programme was created based on the belief that partnerships will better the tech industry, said Foo. Through this programme, Huawei gives students hands-on experience in the tech industry while fostering their leadership skills in a cross-cultural environment.
“[The programme] opened my eyes to evolutionary technologies such as 5G which I will otherwise not be exposed to in academia,” said programme alumni Yu Peng Fei at the closing ceremony.
“It’s a great experience to be able to pick the brains and interact with other young talents from all around the world. I can clearly say that I’ve met many good friends who also educated me on different technology cultures around the world,” he continued.
Participants this year attended virtually, and learned about the latest technological developments in fields like 5G and Internet of Things.
Students in the programme are like seeds, Yeo illustrated. Seeds contain complex codes that are a result of billions of mutations, he explained. “You may have the most brilliant code, but if it hasn’t got the opportunity to replicate and germinate, they will die,” he continued.
“What this programme does is it provides an environment where if you have the right code, you can replicate and succeed, and change the world,” he said.
Graduates from the programme can also access the Smart Urban Co-Innovation Lab @ East Coast. The Lab brings together grassroots organisations, schools and businesses to offer better jobs and equip students and workers with future-ready skills.
The collaboration between Huawei and East Coast shows how tech talents can benefit if businesses in the industry work together, said Tan.
“Huawei will stay committed to nurture the next generation of digital talents through various programmes like this one,” said Foo. Huawei announced the Seeds for the Future Program 2.0, where the company will invest US$150 million in digital development over the next five years globally.
How Huawei works with universities to groom new talents
Foo Fang Yong, CEO of Huawei International.
Besides the Seeds for the Future Program, Huawei also partners with universities to equip students with real world skills and on-the-job training.
“They will learn and practice in a real work environment and potentially become a part of this fast growing digital society,” said Foo.
For example, Huawei signed a partnership with the National University of Singapore (NUS) Business Analytics Centre.
Huawei provides NUS BAC with cloud computing resources through the partnership. This allows students to build large scale models using AI that mimic real world scenarios, which they could not do previously due to limited computational resources, highlighted Pang.
NUS BAC will also organise an Analytics Innovation Challenge, where students will develop solutions based on pain points facing Huawei or their clients. Students can also participate in internships with Huawei or their partners, where they will undergo on-the-job training.
“[This way], when they join the industry, they are fully ready and can make an immediate impact. They don’t need a few months, or one or two years to ramp up,” Pang explained.
Finally, the partnership will help students future proof themselves through scholarships and bursaries for future studies in fields such as IT, AI, and data analytics.
“We truly believe through the collaboration with Huawei International, we can prepare the best talent to support the local and regional development and be ready for the future,” said Pang.
As technology advances, students looking to enter the digital and tech fields will need to be adaptable. Huawei seeks to prepare a new generation of workers for the future of tech.
Images by Huawei.