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STI College Accelerates Digital Talent Development

By Beronika Peña, ICT & Engineering Courseware Development Head, STI College

The cooperation between STI College and Huawei ICT Academy helps students improve their digital skills and obtain professional certifications. It has proven that university-enterprise collaboration is very helpful in cultivating ICT professionals. In particular, Huawei's curriculum design fits the overall needs of the ICT industry and better matches the needs of the partner companies, accelerating the digital talent development in the Philippines.

Bridging the Digital Divide

When you think of the Philippines, what's the first thing that comes to your mind? Archipelagos? Tourist resorts? Or the nation's vast number of overseas workers? Whatever you think of, it's probably not intelligent digital technologies. This is largely because the development of the ICT industry in the Philippines has long been hindered by the widening wealth gap and poor infrastructure. With the global digitalization process accelerating, the Philippines sees a development opportunity.

In recent years, the Philippines has made the digital economy the focus of its economic development and has sought to gain a competitive edge internationally by prioritizing innovative digital technologies. As digital transformation takes hold, becoming more widespread and more influential, the demand for digital talent is rapidly increasing in various industries. Essentially, a lack of available expertise in the nation's job market has restricted the development of its digital economy.

To enhance the digital skills of its citizens, bridge the growing digital divide, and help to improve the employment prospects of the young generation in the Philippines, STI has taken the initiative to assume the social responsibility of a large education and training institution to promote innovative education in the IT field. With Huawei, we help students prepare for digital transformation while in school, improve their skills, and acquire the latest digital technologies to help students to develop and have a good career in the IT industry.

Developing ICT Talent

STI College is an IT-based educational institution with many schools in the Philippines. It is one of the frontrunners in innovative education, nurturing students to prepare them for the job market and for life outside of it. However, until fairly recently, many students who had graduated from STI spent a long time looking for an appropriate job vacancy. Based on its understanding of demand in the ICT industry, STI noticed that this was because these students lacked the up-to-date technical knowledge that suited the ICT industry's job market needs.

To resolve this issue, STI partnered with Huawei to strengthen its Enrollment-to-Employment (E2E) system, which provides students with applicable education, job market skills, job preparedness, and job placement assistance.

The first step is developing the learning systems, which ensures that the curriculum content is up-to-date and job market-oriented. To complement this, STI implements an academic delivery system to guarantee that its highly qualified faculty and state-of-the-art facilities its campuses are in sync with the standardized courseware and curriculum. STI also integrates in-demand ICT into its courseware materials to prepare students for their ideal careers.

The second step, student certification, ensures that — through rigid assessment, evaluation, and certificate programs — students are prepared for employment. Before the students leave the security of their four-walled classrooms, they are given the opportunity to undergo on-the-job training with some of STI's partner companies.

Connecting Students with Future Employers

Through its partnership with Huawei ICT Academy, STI College has produced 564 students certified in five technology domains: cloud computing, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (AI), routing and switching, and storage. Huawei ensures that its courses match the needs of the ICT industry in general and its partner enterprises in particular, to guarantee employment for students.

Each certification is valid for three years, and the students' names appear on Huawei's online database as Huawei Certified ICT Associates. This improves students' competitiveness in the job market as well as the school's employment rate.

Our students are very fortunate to be a part of the Huawei ICT Academy. Through this program and certification, our graduates have landed jobs at top corporations in the Philippines, enabling real-life change through ICT education.

Edward Aquino, who graduated in 2019, is a prime example. "The institution helped me reach my potential, and I can definitely say that what I learned from them is world-class," he said. "It made me more competitive."

"Looking back, I remember how our teachers encouraged us to be resourceful and seek out more knowledge beyond the classroom. They always reminded us not to depend on them to 'spoon-feed' all information and pointers, but to find them elsewhere, whether from books, seminars, or simply through experiences. The school didn't just teach us to give the right answers to questions, but also how to get the right answers," said Michaela Mendiola, a 2018 graduate.

Janice Lagundi, a 2018 graduate, said, "Even when being placed in the managerial role, the core lessons you learned at school will help you stay organized, set goals, and meet deadlines. At STI, we were given deadlines and tasks to complete, and that gave me a glimpse of what to anticipate in the future. I also acquired good communication skills, which I use now to interact with people from other countries. Without the core knowledge from STI, I don't think I would have been able to handle my tasks and projects."

Tedjay Seguiza, who graduated in 2020 and is now a Cloud Tech Assistant Engineer, said, "Huawei helped us prepare for the certification through the ICT Academy portal's Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and mock exams, and even gave us free exam vouchers. All the material from our trainers for my four certifications (routing and switching, Big Data, AI, and cloud computing) was all at our fingertips — easily accessible. Having such a platform that showcases the ICT industry can encourage us to enter the field and strive for a better future."

Digital Talent Contributes to the Digital Economy

Establishing a career in today's competitive industries has become challenging for most job seekers. Employers, too, are increasingly having difficulty finding the right person for the job. Too often, there's a huge gap between the skills required by the industry and what a graduate has to offer.

Given these challenges, Huawei ICT Academy and STI College have committed to equipping Filipino students with the knowledge and skills needed to prepare them for a career in the ICT industry. STI College has expanded its courses to cover multiple domains in the ICT industry, with the collaboration with Huawei ICT Academy to provide a medium to connect STI worldwide and create a globally-connected community that can share knowledge and ideas, helping STI students to broaden their goals and aspirations.

With that in mind, STI College will continue collaborating with Huawei on the future-oriented ICT talent ecosystem to jointly create value for industries and build more intelligent societies. In the long term, the partnership aims to bridge the gap in talent supply and demand to ensure the sustainable development of the ICT industry in the Philippines.

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