In the digital era, ICT — a leading industry in the digital economy — faces great challenges in optimizing its industrial structure and accelerating digital transformation. As the industry transforms, the key to maintaining rapid development, seizing opportunities, and making progress in the new era is treating talent as the industry’s most important resource.
Breaking the Bottleneck of the Integration of Industry and Education in the Cultivation of Talent
In the traditional talent cultivation model, higher education prioritizes theories and concepts but neglects practices and capabilities. Talent supply and demand are somewhat disconnected, and the model struggles to support the industry’s development. In this context, a long-term strategy that includes resource sharing, complementary advantages, and joint development between universities and enterprises is needed to efficiently match the talent supply with the demand; achieve mutual benefits among universities, enterprises, and talent; and support the industry’s development.
Theoretically, the cooperation between universities and enterprises can be key in promoting a solution to the talent dilemma. In practice, however, the cooperation between universities and enterprises can be difficult to implement. The integration of industry and education has encountered a bottleneck. There are three main reasons.
Firstly, the talent cultivation model of collaborating and cultivating people isn’t fully developed. Generally, collaboration between universities and enterprises is spontaneous and shallow.
Secondly, some enterprises aren’t active in the training process, and they aren’t aligned with the talent cultivation goals of universities. The content of the courses doesn’t match the professional standards, and the teaching process isn’t aligned with the industry’s production processes. The prioritization of theories over practices is an ongoing problem.
Thirdly, there are problems in colleges and universities, such as teachers lacking motivation to participate in industry-education cooperation projects and a lack of desire to learn among students.
The challenge is to achieve efficient communication between the ICT industry and the education industry, and solve the talent shortage problem.
As a global leading ICT solution provider, Huawei advocates for an open, shared, ICT talent ecosystem that benefits all parties. In 2013, Huawei launched its ICT Academy, a school-enterprise cooperation project that involves higher education institutions, to help build that talent ecosystem. Over the past six years, Huawei has invested heavily in exploring practices with universities and colleges and replicating successful experiences. Huawei has built a talent supply chain covering the entire process of learning, certification, and employment — by deepening the cooperation mechanism between universities and enterprises, aiming to promote industry development, and innovate talent development models based on enterprise requirements. Huawei helps universities cultivate ICT talent that meets industry requirements, providing high-quality talent for industry development.
By the end of 2019, Huawei ICT Academy had been deployed in China, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Latin America, and the Southern Pacific, covering 72 countries. The universities that cooperate include some of the most highly rated in China, such as Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Fudan University, as well as world-renowned universities, including Bauman Moscow State Technical University, University of Malaya, and the University of New South Wales. The Polytech Nice Sophia and other engineering colleges, as well as the Shenzhen Vocational Technical College, the UK’s Northeast Surrey Technical College, and other leading higher vocational colleges are also included. In total, 927 colleges and universities are involved. More than 45,000 students are trained every year. In 2019, Huawei and over 1,300 partners jointly held 51 talent fairs around the world, attracting more than 21,000 students and providing more than 3,600 high-quality ICT personnel to the industry.
Huawei ICT Academy: Multi-Dimensional Solutions Addressing Talent Ecosystem Pain Points
Based on Huawei’s technical accumulation, talent cultivation experience, and industry resources in the ICT industry over the past 30 years, the Huawei ICT Academy project supports Huawei’s ‘platform + ecosystem’ strategy. Based on industry requirements, the project addresses the pain points of the industry’s talent gap and integrates the resource advantages of both universities and enterprises. Huawei provides a comprehensive solution that covers the entire talent development process from course development, trainer enablement, to lab environment setup, and from talent certification, competition, to employment. The solution works with the government, universities, and enterprises to build a new ICT talent development model and an effective talent ecosystem. Huawei also provides multi-dimensional solutions for different types of talent and different levels of needs to ensure that Huawei’s school-enterprise cooperation solutions effectively match the needs of higher education institutions and enterprises, and promote the development of various types of ICT talent.
As digitalization accelerates in various industries, colleges and universities urgently need to reform traditional teaching content and focus more on cutting-edge technologies, ensure that courses keep up with the times, guarantee that teaching materials are related to industry practices, and help students become more employable. To meet these demands, Huawei works with college and university teachers to jointly develop courses based on Huawei’s understanding of the industry, technical accumulation, and practices, industry position analysis, and Huawei-certified talent certification standard system, and builds a practical course system that adapts to industry talent requirement. The course covers a wide range of technical fields, including routing and switching, storage, cloud, WLAN, cloud computing, big data, IoT, and artificial intelligence. It provides teachers and students in cooperative colleges and universities with a one-stop open platform for online learning and practice. Such courses can greatly improve the efficiency and quality of talent cultivation. After signing a contract with Huawei ICT Academy, universities can get course authorization provided by Huawei and the free training that integrates courses, practice, and certification — achieving independent teaching and operation.
For example, in 2014, the University of Alicante, a top university in Spain, signed a contract with Huawei to become the first Huawei ICT Academy in Western Europe. Huawei arranged for experts to provide HCIA-Routing & Switching training for four ICT Academy teachers, enabling the university to teach students routing and switching independently.
Huawei’s certification exam is an important means to test students’ learning achievements and is very significant in improving the quality of talent development of Huawei ICT Academy. Most students can pass Huawei certification exams after completing related courses, proving that they are qualified for basic positions in the industry. For students, Huawei certification can improve their employment competitiveness. For universities, Huawei certification can improve the employment rate of schools. For enterprises, Huawei certification can reduce the training costs of enterprises. In 2018, the University of Alicante added the HCIA-Cloud course, and Huawei’s technical courses have become mandatory.
Huawei ICT Competition: Promoting Education, Learning, and Development Through Competition
The ultimate goal of talent cultivation is to transfer new employees to the industry. Improving students’ practical capabilities and employment competitiveness in this process has always been critical in cooperation between schools and enterprises, and this is also one of the important indicators for tracking talent cultivation achievements.
Huawei has held annual ICT competitions since 2015. Through cooperation with governments, enterprises, universities, training institutions, and industry organizations, Huawei aims to provide international competition and communication platforms for college students worldwide, increase their ICT knowledge, and stimulate their interest in learning and innovation capabilities, and improve their self-learning and problem-solving abilities, to promote learning through competition. To better guide students, teachers need to further expand their professional technical fields, focus on cultivating students’ innovation, team collaboration, and ability to adapt to changes, and reflect on their teaching methods based on the performance and competition results of students to improve the practicality and relevance of teaching and promote teaching through competition. For universities and participating enterprises, participating in Huawei ICT Competition is a good opportunity for talent supply and demand communication. It helps promote upgrading the talent development model, promote employment, and promote development through competition.
Huawei has held four annual ICT contests, with the number of participants and countries involved increasing each year. Thirty teams and 7,550 students from China attended the first competition, held in 2015. The fourth competition, in 2019, was held across 61 countries, involving more than 100,000 students from more than 1,600 universities and colleges. Innovation competitions were also held to evaluate students’ innovative application and solution design capabilities of new technologies such as AI, cloud computing, big data, and IoT, and comprehensively cultivate students’ ICT technical capabilities. The fifth competition, now being held in more than 70 countries around the world, is expected to involve more than 150,000 students.
The University of Malaya is the oldest and highest-ranking university in Malaysia. It has cooperated with Huawei for seven years and joined Huawei ICT Academy in 2018. While using Huawei’s knowledge to enrich teaching content, strengthen students’ knowledge, and improve their skills, the University of Malaya has also participated in Huawei ICT Competition. In the 4th Huawei ICT Competition Global Final, the Academy of Computing Sciences and Information Technology of the University of Malaya competed with 65 teams from 30 countries and won first prize in the network competition.
The Huawei ICT Competition isn’t just important for students because it can help them improve their skills; it can also boost their competitiveness in the job market. For example, after she participated in Huawei’s ICT Academy project and Huawei’s ICT competition and won third prize of the Honor Cup in the ICT Competition in Russia, Huawei hired Bauman Moscow State Technical University (BMSTU) student Tishina Elizaveta as a service engineer.
“Huawei ICT Academy can help Huawei discover new talent, and help students improve their technical knowledge as well as define their career development direction,” Elizaveta said.
BMSTU is one of Russia’s most historic and most prestigious academic universities. It has cultivated more than 160,000 outstanding technical personnel. In the 4th Huawei ICT Competition Global Final, two BMSTU students won the opportunity to compete on behalf of Russia with top students from other countries. During the competition, they were able to identify their strengths and weaknesses and clarify their future career development direction.
Becoming a Foundation for Cultivating Talent in the Digital Economy
At the end of 2017, Huawei released its new corporate vision and mission, and focused on its role as a foundation for the intelligent world. In the ICT talent ecosystem, Huawei aims to become a foundation for cultivating digital economy talent. In the new era of ICT development, Huawei will accelerate scientific and technological innovation; it will also invest in knowledge innovation and talent development. Through furthering cooperation between schools and enterprises, Huawei aims to align school majors and industry sectors, course content and professional qualifications, teaching structures and production processes, and talent development and employment.
By bridging the gap between demand of enterprises and the supply from schools, Huawei hopes to provide more technical and skillful talent, more advanced technologies, and more support to innovation and entrepreneurship — to facilitate a virtuous cycle and support the sustainable development of the ICT industry.