Huawei Talent Summit: Working with Startups to reduce the digital gap

Over 80 students, along with representatives of startups, NGOs, consultants and universities from all over Europe, gathered in Helsinki, Finland for the Huawei Talent Summit. The goal is to showcase their achievements on Huawei’s talent development program. Solving future challenges such as the digital skills gap, lack of ICT talent, equity and sustainability have been at the heart of the discussions, starting with the key findings of the Joint Huawei and EY White Paper on digital skills.

According to Luca Marcolin, Senior Consultant at EY, the rapidly growing demand for digital skills is outperforming supply at an increasingly rapid pace. At the same time there is a serious shortage of ICT talent in the EU“For example, in 2021, Finland ranked first in the human capital of digital skills among EU Member States according to the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), strengthening its role as a European digital leader. The number of ICT graduates in Finland is almost double than the EU average and almost twice as many enterprises provide ICT education. However, this is insufficient, as 59% of companies are trying to hire IT specialists report difficulties in filling jobs,” says Luca Marcolin.

Huawei is committed to developing new ICT talent in every country where it operates and in 2008 began implementing various programs, including scholarships, technology competitions and digital skills education. Since then, it has invested more than 130 million euros in the programme, benefiting more than 1.54 million people in over 150 countries worldwide.

“Huawei stands ready to work with European partners to develop top-notch digital talent and bridge the digital gap,” says Kenneth Fredriksen, Vice President of Huawei CEE and Nordic Region. “In Europe, Huawei has implemented many programs, such as Seeds for the Future, ICT Academy and the European University Challenge, to create a talent development ecosystem. Huawei has committed to invest 2.5 million euros in Seeds for the Future scholarships that will be given to talented students in Europe for upskilling in the ICT sector”, underlined Kenneth Fredriksen. He also explained how through these programs Huawei “will try to work with leading universities in Europe to enhance the capabilities of the next generation of innovative Europeans.

Small and medium-sized enterprises and large enterprises together for a better future

Digitalisation means great opportunities for SMEs with Huawei having organised Startup competitions in many European countries for new ideas in society, while providing technology and funding to startups, promoting the development of innovation ecosystems.A team of Startup founders discussed at the Talent Summit how SMEs and large enterprises should work together on mutual goals, such as reducing the digital gap and building a more sustainable future.

“I’m really glad to see companies like Huawei trying to engage and empower Startups and young people to create a positive impact and be part of the solution. The flexibility and new innovation prospects of Startups and youth go hand in hand with the experience, capital and know-how of large enterprises. It is the perfect combination to create the most innovative, revolutionary and powerful solutions for our future.”, said Yesika Aguilera, Forbes 30 Under 30, co-founder at Tespack & Clocky App.

ICT skills will make a difference in the digital age

Women are highly under-represented in the digital workforce, with over 80% of ICT specialists employed across the EU being men. Despite the differences between countries, only 17% of tech professionals are women on average, and only 22% of the world’s AI professionals are women,

“While the numbers may take years to really start showing a significant increase in the gender ratio in the industry, there are already incredibly successful women and women leaders in the industry. Their emergence as role models enables change to accelerate.”, stated Dora Palfi, co-founder and CEO of imagiLabs.

Huawei has launched a series of initiatives to promote gender equality and involve more women in the digital future. Among them is “Women In Technology” which takes place all over Europe to help women’s voices be heard in the field of technology. In 2021 Huawei officially launched the HUAWEI Women Developers (HWD) program, with the goal of enabling female developers to create innovative applications.

Training programmes as an influence on students’ views on sustainability

In addition to continuing to provide green 5G technology and solar energy systems, Huawei is working with partners in Europe to reduce carbon emissions with the goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. Through ICT training courses, young talents such as Eight Seeds for the Future graduates learned and discussed how their studies influenced their views on sustainability and how technology can affect the future. 

Applications for the Winter School of the European Leadership Academy

A specific initiative that supports young, female talents trying to shape Europe’s technological revolution is the School for Female Leadership in the Digital Age. Applications for the new cycle, which will take place at the end of February in Nice, are open until January 3, 2022. An independent jury will select 27 participants for this weekly free scholarship program with masterclasses, group projects, active learning and cultural experiences.

“Ensuring diversity in the development of technologies is the first step in building a truly equal, inclusive world. To overcome prejudices, women must be able to shape and lead the technological revolution. Our curriculum equips young women with the tools they need to be the leaders of Europe’s digital transition.”, said Berta Herrero, Program Director of the School for Female Leadership in the Digital Age.

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