Huawei and the ASEAN Foundation brought together representatives from government, academia, and industry to discuss the construction of a future-ready ICT talent pool in the Asia-Pacific region at the Asia Pacific Digital Talent Summit. This meeting, focused on cultivating talent to unleash the power of digital, was held during Huawei’s annual flagship event Huawei Connect.
In his opening speech, Ekkaphab Phanthavong, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for Socio-Cultural Community, explained that the summit, “is essential to foster discussion and coordinate efforts on how we can cultivate innovative ICT talents in the region, identify their current status, address digital adversities and inequalities, and determine the step forward.”
The ASEAN Foundation’s Executive Director Dr. Yang Mee Eng also stated that, “Through the summit, we are bringing key stakeholders across the region to enhance consensus, tackle difficulties, and take ample actions to resolve digital gaps, cultivate innovative talents, and unleash digital transformation for the region.”
Huawei’s President of Public Affairs and Communications Jeff Wang explained the company’s own goals for talent cultivation, “Connecting people and building the next generation of talent is more important than ever for driving forward digital transformation. For more than 20 years, we’ve worked closely with partners in Asia Pacific to provide Internet access to the unconnected. Meanwhile, we are on track to meet our goal of training 500,000 ICT talents in the region by 2026.”
During the event, government representatives from across the region shared updates on their own current initiatives in talent cultivation.
Dr. Phichet Phophakdee, Inspector-General of the Ministry of Education of Thailand said, “In Thailand, distance learning platforms and resources, such as Digital Learning Television (DLTV), are being developed to ensure learning opportunities are available for everyone. The future of education will depend on us being more united and innovating to make our nation’s education more inclusive, more equitable, and higher quality.”
Cambodia’s Secretary of State, Ministry of Post and Telecommunications Sok Puthyvuth added, “Cambodia has begun including digital subjects into our school curriculums, leveraging online platforms, and establishing new community tech centers for students. We are also enhancing work with vocational training schools to provide digital training for those already in the workforce.”
Indonesia’s Director General of Higher Education under the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology Prof. Nizam said, “In Indonesia, we are transforming our education system to be digitally ready and developing a talent pool of digital technology through multiple initiatives.”
Two professors also provided their insights from an academic angel. Professor GUO Yike from Hong Kong Baptist University introduced to the audience the world’s first AI ensemble, Turing AI Orchestra (TAIO). He believed that “TAIO will promote transdisciplinary education to the next generation.” Former Vice-President of Japan’s Yokohama National University Hitoshi Yamada explained how international exchange can transform digital talent development.
In his own speech, Huawei’s Asia Pacific President Simon Lin said, “Nearly all Asia Pacific countries are empowering ICT talents especially young people to boost digital economy. As a global company rooted in local markets, Huawei will keep strengthening the talent ecosystem through leadership, skill, and knowledge.”
The latter half of the event included: the pre-release of Thailand’s National Digital Talent Development White Paper which is scheduled for publication in October; the launch of Huawei‘s first international training initiative on Cyber Security Talent Development Solution and Certification Standards; and a panel on digital inclusion and post-pandemic recovery.
The panel included Michele Wucker, global best-selling author of “The Gray Rhino”, Professor Guo Song from Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and Iona Dominique, winner of APAC Seeds for the Future Tech4All Competition. Together, they discussed the importance of including young people in digital inclusion policymaking and called for collective actions among private sector, academia and the government for digital inclusion in this era. Michele concluded the panel by saying, “The gray rhino of digital transformation is different for different groups—for young people in terms of their own education, for business in terms of how they hire and operate, for policymakers in terms of how they facilitate the atmosphere that united everyone and deal with it, which involves both obstacles and opportunities. You can see the rhinos coming at you; you can stand still and get trampled; or you can take its strength, harness it and use it to pull everyone forward.”