It is important that the EU builds on the momentum that the European Pact for Youth has generated. My company, Huawei, was proud to see two of its scholarship students chosen to address the first European Business-Education Summit late last month.
These youngsters, Alessandro Gattolin from Italy and Lindsay Kempen from The Netherlands, had taken part in Huawei’s international ICT training programme, Seeds for the Future.
This programme incorporates a two-week study trip to China, a visit to Beijing for Chinese language training and cultural excursions and time at Huawei headquarters in Shenzhen for ICT training and experience of a global multinational in action.
Alessandro and Lindsay spoke eloquently at the summit about the need for the business sector to engage in student education at an early stage.
They were two of a group of 32 Seeds for the Future students that Huawei brought to Brussels from 15 different EU member states, attending both the business-education summit as well as visiting the European Commission and European Parliament.
Huawei invites Seeds for the Future students to Brussels each year. Last year’s group drew up a manifesto for MEPs entitled ‘Our Fears, Our Dreams’, in which they published a list of suggestions for the future of digital society.
At the Parliament, this year’s students met 15 MEPs or their representatives from 11 countries, at an event generously hosted by the Bulgarian member of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, Ilhan Kyuchyuk.
Antonia Daderman, a Seeds for the Future student from Sweden, spoke for everyone present when she told the MEPs that, “I would most definitely encourage the further development of such business-education schemes in the future. Both sides seem to benefit.”
Huawei is firmly committed to building on the progress made by the Pact for Youth initiative. We have pledged to train at least 2,000 young Europeans through the Seeds for the Future programme by 2020.
As technology in our lives relentlessly advances and developments such as the Internet of Things come to the fore, businesses will need students to be prepared for the new jobs and opportunities the future will create.
Worryingly, it is forecast that, due to a skills shortage, hundreds of thousands of ICT job vacancies in the EU could end up unfilled by the end of this decade. As the digital transformation gathers speed, this trend is likely to continue if we do not take action now.
By providing hands-on skills training and encouraging technology students to step outside their comfort zones and discover global opportunities, and by stimulating the creativity of the young travellers and helping them to become more independent, we can help train future entrepreneurs.
The Seeds for the Future programme can help create lasting connections between the worlds of business and education, preparing students for the workplace of tomorrow in multiple ways.