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Profile

10 students from three leading New Zealand universities have won places on a two-week ICT training course in China under Huawei New Zealand’s Seeds for the Future programme.

Seeds for the Future selects high-achieving students from around the world to visit Huawei’s headquarters to gain practical insights into the future of the ICT industry. It was created to nurture up-and-coming ICT talent and develop local ICT industries, as well as promote a greater interest in and understanding of the telecommunications sector.

The programme offers chosen students the opportunity to experience hands-on training and development, as well as China and its language and culture. Students will gain a feel for life at a major technology company, insight into the global ICT industry, and the chance to learn about the next-generation technologies being created at Huawei.

The undergraduate students from Auckland University of Technology (AUT), Victoria University of Wellington and University of Auckland travelled to Beijing and Shenzhen in China on 25 August. This is the first cohort of University of Auckland and Victoria University students to take part in the international programme, while AUT has participated with Huawei’s Seeds for the Future programme since 2014.

Dr. Stephen Thorpe, from AUT’s School of Engineering and Computer Science, says the programme is a fantastic opportunity for the students.

“They’ll get first-hand insight into the work of a multinational ICT company — learning about the latest technological developments, getting hands-on in Huawei’s laboratories, and meeting key people.

“They’ll also experience Chinese history, culture and language, and get to visit historical landmarks.

“Auckland University of Technology is dedicated to being a leader in imagining and exploring the possibilities of a digital age, and is grateful to Huawei for extending this opportunity.”

Deputy Mayor of Wellington City, Paul Eagle, says initiatives such as Seeds for the Future are beneficial for the growing number of local technology professionals. "About 10 per cent of Wellingtonians, or 13,000 people, are working in the technology sector. It’s great to see our young talent seize opportunities to explore the industry through programmes like Huawei Seeds for the Future."

Andrew Bowater, Director of Public Affairs Huawei New Zealand, says the company is impressed with New Zealand’s students.

“The entrants from all universities were high calibre—intelligent and enthusiastic young people. We’re excited to have the 10 successful applicants take part in the programme. It provides a vital link between classroom learning and the type of real world situations students will face once they enter the workforce.”

Huawei’s investments in the New Zealand economy and the future of the ICT workforce through programmes such as Seeds for the Future in part aims to help to reduce the current skills shortage in the country’s technology industry.

The ICT industry is rapidly growing, with TradeMe data from the last quarter of 2016 indicating a 27.2 per cent growth in IT job listings in Auckland, and 34.4 per cent growth in the science and technology sector. However, this quick growth has resulted in a skills shortage, with demand for skilled employees far outweighing supply, and tech sector job salaries increasing on average 6 per cent over the last 12 months. By supporting young talent interested in the technology industry, Huawei is encouraging the development of domestic skills so New Zealand can rely on its own workforce to contribute to one of its fastest growing sectors.

Huawei is the world’s largest telecommunications vendor. Its Seeds for the Future programme launched in 2008, and has since been implemented in 96 countries, giving opportunities to over 30,000 students from 280 universities.

The 10 students selected are:
• Thomas Bilton from Auckland University of Technology, who is studying a Bachelor of Computer and Information Sciences in Software Development
• Racheal Herlihy from Auckland University of Technology, who is studying a Bachelor of Computer and Information Sciences in Computational Intelligence
• Davy Kerkhoven from Auckland University of Technology, who is studying a Bachelor of Computer and Information Sciences in Software Development and Computer Science
• Maxton Coulson from University of Auckland, who is studying a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
• Valerie Chan from Victoria University of Wellington, who is studying a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Computer Science and Statistics
• Liam Dennis from Victoria University of Wellington, who is studying a Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Software Engineering, and a Bachelor of Commerce in Economics and Finance
• Edward Haslam from Victoria University of Wellington, who is studying a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Computer Science
• Joely Huang from Victoria University of Wellington, who is studying a Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Software Engineering
• Patrick Lynch from Victoria University of Wellington, who is studying a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
• Patrick Savill from Victoria University of Wellington, who is studying a Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Electronic and Computer Systems Engineering.