K Labs and Huawei: Developing ICT Expertise in Europe
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Reading guide: Industries worldwide are digitally transforming to make their operations more efficient and more productive. Naturally, if this going to succeed, a large pool of ICT specialists is essential. Aiming to meet that demand, K Labs — a digital academy headquartered in Italy — works with Huawei to develop ICT expertise, ultimately creating value for those digitally transforming industries.
In the digital age that we find ourselves in, ICT has been integrated into all sectors of economies and societies. As a powerful engine for development, it has profoundly changed the ways we work, think, and live. Because of ICT's impact and importance, territories and regions now treat digital transformation as a priority.
On February 19, 2020, the European Union (EU) released Communication: Shaping Europe's Digital Future, and proposed the concept, strategy, and modus operandi of digital transformation. It's a blueprint to empower the EU to become more open, democratic, and sustainable — driven by digital technologies — and a digital transformation pioneer.
Then, in March 2021, the EU published 2030 Digital Compass: the European Way for the Digital Decade, specifying its vision, targets, and approaches to digital transformation over the next decade.
In light of these programs, one thing is clear: Digital transformation has become an important strategic development goal for the EU.
The EU faces great challenges, though: a lack of digital technology experts, a digital skills shortage across sectors, and potential economic losses resulting from the talent shortage in big data, cloud computing, and other important ICT fields.
According to the Chinese Social Sciences Today (CSST), up to 46% of large companies in the EU lacked ICT experts by 2019; and from 2012 through 2019, the ICT talent gap among EU companies increased at an annual rate of 2%.
This huge ICT talent gap directly restricts ICT industry development. To address this issue, many EU technology companies recruited graduates majoring in telecommunications, electronics, and computer science from non-EU countries. Unfortunately, because of an imbalance between theory and practice in courses, many of these graduates lacked practical skills, so they failed to quickly fit into enterprises, let alone create value for them.
K Labs was established to rapidly improve the skills of ICT practitioners: its mission is to develop ICT expertise to support digital transformation. Now, it can play a key role in helping the EU achieve its goal of becoming a global leader in digital transformation.
Founded in 2006, K Labs specializes in ICT technical training, particularly focusing on telecom, networks, and security. In its early stages, K Labs lacked competent trainers, lab equipment, and the most advanced technical knowledge in the industry. To scale up, K Labs increased its investment in software and hardware, and sought external partners.
Huawei was one of K Labs's choices as an external partner. After several rounds of communication, K Labs and Huawei started cooperating. As a leading global provider of ICT infrastructure and smart devices, Huawei's businesses cover 23 ICT fields, including cloud, big data, the Internet of Things (IoT), and data communications (datacom). In the initial cooperation phase, Huawei helped K Labs train its trainers on industry-leading ICT knowledge and teaching skills. Huawei also provided K Labs with lab equipment for training purposes and technical support. As more and more people were trained and became certified, Huawei provided free exam vouchers as incentives for K Labs trainees and trainers.
From personal experience, Huawei provided support as we needed. Huawei has got a dedicated team for training and certification that works at central and local levels. When I visited Huawei's headquarters in China, I was impressed by how Huawei takes care of the training partner feedback to continuously improve the quality of the training and certifications. It is something that I have never seen from other vendors. Regarding the quality, I can say that getting a Huawei certification does not mean just passing an exam. Huawei encourages the candidates to attend training before to take an exam. This gives great added value to Huawei certifications, because the certified engineers have really experienced installing, configuring, and managing Huawei equipment. Compared to other vendors, Huawei better supports K Labs because it provides free certification vouchers for trainers and students, organizes 'Train the Trainer' sessions, and supports K Labs with training labs and technical support teams.
Huawei has been focusing on providing support for partners, continuously improving partner capabilities, and building a robust ICT ecosystem with partners. K Labs has been working with Huawei for 15 years, since 2006. During that period, K Labs has grown into the world's leading ICT training institution, and is widely trusted by world-class companies, particularly those in the ICT field. To date, K Labs has trained more than 5000 students on Huawei's technologies and solutions in Western Europe, ensuring they are well-equipped for jobs in the industry and empowering them to propel digital transformation.
K Labs is now the most important Huawei Authorized Learning Partner (HALP) in Western Europe, providing training on the entire Huawei training portfolio — including routing and switching, storage, cloud, data center, WLAN transmission, access, LTE, and 5G, to help engineers pass Huawei Certified ICT Associate (HCIA), Huawei Certified ICT Professional (HCIP), and Huawei Certified ICT Expert (HCIE) certification exams.
One of the certified engineers, Peter, joined one of the top 500 telecom companies worldwide.
Peter was a Computer and Automation Engineering student at Università Politecnica delle Marche, the first Huawei ICT Academy in Italy. Peter didn't know anything about Huawei's courses until his professor recommended its routing and switching training program. Through the training, Peter acquired skills and knowledge and learned how valuable Huawei's courses could be.
Peter's professor told him that passing the Huawei certification exam could greatly broaden his future career development path. After learning more details, Peter decided to take the certification exam, to enhance his soft skills as well as his technical expertise.
After preparing diligently and conscientiously, Peter passed the exam with an excellent score and obtained the HCIA certificate in September 2019. In November, he became an after-sales engineer at one of Huawei's local partner companies. To reach the self-improvement targets at his job, Peter participated in the K Labs HCIP training course. Under the instructions of K Labs trainers and with his specialized knowledge, he passed more certification exams at different levels.
Peter's career development steadily improved. Recognizing the value of Huawei certifications, he decided to work toward the highest-level Huawei certifications: HCIE.
He knew both the preparation and the exams themselves would be difficult, so he contacted K Labs for certification training, including training on the HCIE written exam and lab exam. He found both the preparation and the HCIE exams difficult.
"Thanks to K Labs, I have learned a lot about routing and switching, security, and storage. It really impressed me that Huawei provided a lot of free courses and learning materials that I needed," Peter said.
"K Labs and Huawei's instructors also gave me a lot of instructions for the lab exam. They helped me practice repeatedly, until I could successfully do the experiment on my own. All these have greatly helped improve my ICT knowledge and skills."
Peter's hard work paid off: He passed the exam, scoring an impressive 93 out of 100. When he received the HCIE certificate, Peter couldn't hide his excitement: "Huawei certifications offer me unlimited possibilities," he said, "and my future career horizons broaden." The company Peter worked for was later upgraded to a five-star CSP, and he received additional training incentives.
Peter's experience is typical of the trainees from the ICT talent ecosystem built by K Labs and Huawei. Over the last 15 years of collaboration, and based on years of technical and teaching experience, K Labs has developed thousands of ICT professionals — becoming an industry leader in high-end ICT talent development and has extensive influence in the European market.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, K Labs joined Huawei's Learn ON program — an online course that tackles trends such as virtualization and its features as well as network and storage basics for cloud computing — ensuring training quality and continuity. In 2020, K Labs helped dozens of engineers and students pass Huawei certification exams through online training.
Looking a little further ahead, we envisage fields such as IoT and big data will need more ICT expertise. With that in mind, K Labs will continue collaborating with Huawei on the future-oriented ICT talent ecosystem, to jointly create value for industries and build more intelligent societies.
Huawei has got a dedicated team for training and certification that works at central and local levels. When I visited Huawei's headquarters in China, I was impressed by how Huawei takes care of the training partner feedback to continuously improve the quality of the training and certifications. It is something that I have never seen from other vendors.
"Getting a Huawei certification does not mean just passing an exam. Huawei encourages the candidates to attend training before to take an exam. This gives great added value to Huawei certifications, because the certified engineers have really experienced installing, configuring, and managing Huawei equipment."
— Lorenzo Passarini, Director, K Labs