A global initiative, Huawei's Seeds for the Future program started in 2008, is implemented in 125 countries, and has provided over 30,000 top students from 280 universities worldwide the opportunity to learn about China, its people, culture, strengths, Huawei's technologies and more.
Funded by both Huawei and the Australian Federal Government's New Colombo Plan Mobility Program, the Seeds for the Future program aims to cultivate talent in the STEM sector and drive interest in the broader telecoms industry as well as foster better relations and a greater understanding of China amongst our next generation of technology leaders.
2019 was its seventh year of operations, having already taken well over 100 Australian students to China as part of the program since launching in 2013.
Back in November 2019, Huawei announced that it had selected 24 undergraduate STEM (science, technology, engineering or mathematics) students to take part in the 2019 program, which concluded in early December in both Beijing and Shenzhen in China.
The program gives STEM undergraduates a priceless opportunity to learn about China and to experience Huawei’s dynamic global business, beginning their trip in Beijing where they studied basic Mandarin and learned about Chinese culture at the highly prestigious Beijing Language and Cultural University.
The students then travelled down to Huawei’s global headquarters in Shenzhen where they had the chance to meet senior Huawei executives and gain key insights on how the Huawei operates its $140 billion global technology business that operates in over 170 countries.
Its growth and success hasn't been without controversy - Huawei is well known to be having its battles with the Trump administration in the US, which has effectively seen the company prevented from operating in America, as well as prevented from supplying 5G networking equipment in Australia (and other countries), but despite these issues, the company has not only continued growing, albeit at a slower pace, but is still committed to Seeds for the Future program on a global basis.
The 2019 Seeds for the Future saw students come from local universities including RMIT, UTS, Curtin and UniSA, as well as students from QUT, University of Sydney, Federation University and Central Queensland University.
Three of the 2019 Seeds for the Future students were graduates of the Clontarf Foundation’s education program – of which Huawei has been a long-time partner - which helps to improve the education, discipline, life skills, self-esteem and employment prospects of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men.
Also attending the graduation Jeremy was Sally Way, Senior Engagement Manager from ATN, the Australian Technology Network of Universities, and below I have an interview with her as well.
Let's start, however, with a group interview conducted just before the graduation ceremony with several students. I had to boost the sound of the student's answers in my video editing software to fight the music in the background, so the sound levels vary a little, but the students can be heard:
Here's my interview with Sally Way, Senior Engagement Manager at ATN:
Here's the 2019 graduation ceremony which the Australian students shared with students from Algeria:
Here's a time-lapse of the graduation event in 28 seconds!
Before the event, a series of the 2019 crop of students had the following to say:
Monique Edser, QUT Business and IT student, said:
“I am very excited to be a part of an experience that will expose me to the Chinese culture and I am hoping to develop a greater insight in to how Chinese people live and work.
“When I finish my studies I want to be a part of shaping technological change and I am excited by the idea that in ten years’ time I could be working in a role that doesn’t even exist right now.
“I am passionate about how technology can be used to have a positive impact on lives and communities and truly believe that technology can contribute considerably to improving our society.”
Flynn Magazowski, RMIT science student, said:
“I am really excited about going to Huawei HQ and seeing their R&D, that’s what I am really interested in and Huawei’s R&D is second to none globally.
“The Seeds for the Future program is a really good opportunity to travel to China. I am really interested in their culture and visiting Huawei which is one of the biggest technology companies in the world will be amazing.
“I really want to learn more about how a big tech company like Huawei actually goes about discovering new things in their research and taking it from scientific knowledge through development and then into an actual product and to manufacture it on a large scale.”
Adam Hawke, RMIT engineering student, said:
“I am very much looking forward to exploring China’s culture and to get some practical understanding of how such a large and influential company like Huawei operates.
“China will be lively, fast paced and vibrant and this trip really is a fantastic way to explore a different country and to discover first-hand how a global leader in the ICT community like Huawei operates.
“I also hope that the trip will help me to understand where my engineering career could lead to once I finish at RMIT.”
Lisa Connors, Corporate Responsibility Manager at Huawei Australia, said:
“We are very excited to be taking this latest group of students to China as part of our Seeds for the Future program for 2019, this is a fantastic opportunity for these students.
“Over the last six years of operating the program in Australia we have given our local students a priceless opportunity to gain international academic and business experience in China.
“The Seeds for the Future program helps to build critical mutually beneficial relationships between our best and brightest young students and China, our largest trading partner and a country that is critical to Australia’s future prosperity.”
The writer travelled to Shenzhen as a guest of Huawei Australia.