Update on the Regional ICT Competition that took place on April 11:
First Place — Indonesia; Second Place — Malaysia; and Third Place — Indonesia.
(SDN) — HUAWEI Technologies Co. Ltd., based in Shenzhen, China, has been helping future-proof Filipino engineering students to make them competitive in local and global ICT opportunities.
Through its Huawei ICT Academy, it has been inspiring future Filipino engineers as the transformative change expected in what is described as “the future of work” will demand more and more tech-savvy workers who can navigate a sea of rapid technological advancements in the digital era.
Huawei is now the global No. 1 leader in telecom equipment manufacture and supply, replacing an European (Swedish) company in the information and communications technology (ICT) industry. Founded in 1987, Huawei operates in 170 countries and has around 180,000 employees globally.
Wherever it is, the Chinese tech firm, which also produces and supplies smartphones and other smart devices (it’s landmark Huawei P30 Pro smartphone is establishing many firsts in its class), it gives back to communities where it operates.
One of its programs aligned with corporate social responsibility (CSR) is the Huawei ICT Academy, a not-for-profit partnership program authorizing academic institutions to deliver Huawei Certification training to their students.
The ICT Academy creates a bridge between Huawei and the ICT industry “not only to cultivate local ICT talent and help students to prepare for employment but also aims to fill the Global ICT skills gap.”
When it comes to employment, graduates of the ICT Academy need not look far. Of course, they can always look for a greener pasture in some far away foreign lands.
But as far as Huawei is concerned, they embrace Filipino engineers, particularly alumni of the ICT Academy, which was introduced to the country only in 2018.
Daniel Guo Zhi, Huawei Philippines vice president and COO, is sure about this.
If not with Huawei itself, then its partners in the industry.
Huawei Philippines executives and the Philippine delegation to the Regional ICT Competition in Malaysia are joined by media members and former DICT undersecretary Monchito Ibrahim (seated at second, right). Also in the forefront are Karrie Escueta-Buenafe, Daniel Guo Zhi, and Stephen Lim Seow Boon.
“When they graduate, our company is open (to them),” Guo assured.
This is part of his message during a send-off dinner for the six students of the University of Southeast Philippines (USeP) and the Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT), the Philippine Delegation to the Huawei Regional ICT Competition in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, held April 11.
They earned the trip as the winners in their respective university’s ICT Academy competition, such as Justin Andre de Leon, Sheena May Halog, and Jana Alexis Paner of USeP; for MSU-IIT, Jesreal Duque, Gabriel Christian Pisla, and Jonas Serino. The six left Manila early morning Wednesday accompanied by their mentors, Prof. Jamal Kay Rogers for USeP, and Prof. Stephen Haim for MSU-IIT.
Huawei sent them on an all-expense paid trip plus mid-range smartphones as part of their prize package.
Guo reiterated that the Chinese giant tech company’s ICT Academy implementation in the country “is our way of giving back to the Philippines and supporting the Philippine Government and DICT’s Programs to train and nurture local ICT talents.”
DICT is the Department of Information and Communications Technology headed by Acting Secretary and former military General Eliseo M. Rio, Jr.
In an interview, Guo said the ICT Academy is part of the Huawei Technology 4 All (Tech4All), one of the firm’s global programs for technology inclusion.
“Our Huawei ICT Academy is in line with Huawei Tech4All. It aims to improve the digital skills of the university as a whole and individually as students take Huawei ICT courses,” Guo told SDN — Science and Digital News.
Tech4All includes the Huawei ICT Academy and the Huawei Seeds for the Future, he said.
It can be recalled that Ken Hu, Huawei deputy chairman, laid down the Tech4All digital inclusion initiative in February at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019’s ministerial program in Barcelona, Spain.
In his speech titled “Redefining Inclusion,” he said, “Technology is good, and it should be used for good, too.”
Hu outlined Huawei’s plans in getting 500 million more people across the globe to benefit directly from digital technology in the coming five years.
To this end, he urged “governments, industry organizations and business partners to act together to promote digital inclusion for all.”
At the send-off dinner for the Philippine Delegation to Malaysia, Guo cited the difference between China and the Philippines in entry salary in the ICT industry, saying in the former it’s Php21,000 and Php25,000 for the latter.
Thumbs up for the Regional ICT Competition from the Philippine Delegation.
Karenina “Karrie” Escueta-Buenafe, head of Public Affairs and Communications at Huawei Philippines, said this is the first time for the Philippines to join the ICT Regional Competition, as the ICT Academy was launched in the country only last year.
“We have to play catch up here. So, why not expose the students in school and let them learn about technologies,” she said.
The first two universities accredited to the ICT Academy are from Mindanao (USeP, the pioneer, and MSU-IIT, the second). Having the two Mindanao universities as the first two “is a conscious part of us. There are many talented students in Mindanao,” said Escueta-Buenafe at the send-off dinner held at Lorenzo’s Way Restaurant in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City, Metro Manila.
Alan Li Guodong, Huawei Philippines Electronics Business Group Service director, cited the ICT competition’s objective. “We can enhance the awareness, hands-on skills and competitiveness of future local talents.”
He said the company has a comprehensive professional certification system that is recognized worldwide. “We hope to continue the introduction of the ICT Academy platform where trainers and students can use to acquire the apply their valuable skills,” said Li, adding he was thankful to have reached partnership with USeP and MSU-IIT.
From USeP, de Leon thanked Huawei for the opportunity to join and represent the country and their school in Malaysia.
“I believe it not only promote camaraderie, but also allows us to demonstrate our skills. We will definitely do our best,” he said.
From MSU-IIT, Pisla said they expect the competition to be challenging, considering it’s the first time for the Philippines to join.
“Even so, we promised ourselves as a team (to do our best). We will get experience, win or lose,” he said.
Both the mentors, Rogers and Haim, said they have been training their participants very hard, especially on weekends, on routing and switching.
The Philippine Delegation’s journey to the regional competition in Malaysia begun in 2018’s last quarter during the search for the qualifiers.
Each university accredited to the ICT Academy after signing a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) chose their professors or instructors in engineering courses who will take Huawei’s “train the trainers program” conducted by a Malaysian instructor coming from the firm’s pool of academicians.
The Huawei instructor conducts a one-week intensive course leading to the Professor-Certification Program. As soon as at least one professor is duly certified, the university now becomes partner in the ICT Academy.
While this process is ongoing, Huawei Teams stage a Roadshow to drum up the Huawei ICT Academy and the ICT Competition, where students are asked to register and take the online mock exam.
The MSU-IIT Team and the USeP Team, both from Mindanao.
The top 40 students who garnered the high scores on the mock exam qualified for the local ICT competition, after which the top 3 students from each university earned the honor to represent the Philippines and their school to the Huawei Regional ICT Competition.
Grand finals will be held in China after other regions shall have completed their competitions.
So, far in the Philippines the Huawei ICT Academy has four accredited universities, USeP, MSU-IIT, De La Salle University (DLSU) Science Campus, Manila, and Bulacan State University (BulSU).
Escueta-Buenafe said they were still looking to add more universities in the program.
Guo said the local competition was designed to help university students in engineering and technical courses further hone their skills.
“We know that Filipinos are one of the best professional workers but the challenge is few universities and colleges provide hands-on training in telecommunications and ICT. Focusing early in local talent development, especially in the ICT industry will contribute to the growth of the Philippine economy,” he said.
He said Filipino graduates of the ICT Academy has the advantage not only in the local work environment but also globally because of the new skills and competence they got from Huawei Certification Courses. (SDN)
All photographs courtesy of MSU-IIT Prof. Stephen Haim.
This story was updated to reflect the winners of the Regional ICT Competition.