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Forging the links for digital economic growth
Huawei’s history of working with UK universities, including Edinburgh, Glasgow and Heriot-Watt, supports the next generation of digital talent. Pixels Hunter/Shutterstock.com
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Forging the links for digital economic growth 

Huawei believes collaboration holds the key to giving individuals and businesses the tools and skills they need to thrive in the new world

Innovation is the key to Huawei’s success, and strong partnerships lie at the heart of innovation. Bringing people together to solve some of the world’s biggest challenges in new and exciting ways is in our DNA.

From technology that will help in the fight against climate change, to connectivity that enables lives to be transformed around the world, technology has a positive role to play.

Last month, we were delighted to take part in the 2021 Digital Scotland Conference – a fantastic opportunity for us to forge new partnerships that will help solve some of the particular challenges Scotland faces in digital connectivity.

Huawei established a presence in Scotland in 2016 with our JointLab research partnership with the University of Edinburgh. Our Edinburgh Research Centre was established in 2018 with the aim of growing the area’s status as one of the UK’s technology hubs.

With a new office opened this year, more than 50 of our 500 dedicated UK R&D staff are now based here. We support more than 1,500 highly-skilled jobs across Scotland, as direct employees and through our supply chain, and we are committed to making Edinburgh a global talent centre for tech and STEM research.

However, growth does not just revolve around the big cities – be that in Scotland or across the UK. While we strongly support the UK government’s ambition for nationwide gigabit-capable broadband, it is vital that mismatched progress does not create “left-behind” areas of the country.

This is a problem Scotland has experienced acutely in previous generations of technology – at Huawei, we want to help our partners in ensuring it never happens again.

A key element of ensuring that digital economic growth spreads to every region of the country is by giving individuals and businesses the tools and skills they need to thrive in the new economy. In the context of Covid-19, this work has become even more vital.

Even with the gradual return to normality, a huge part of our jobs, social lives, and our children’s education will remain online.

And poor connectivity can have a dramatic impact on people’s lives. Last year, YouGov, in partnership with Huawei, found that one in four parents felt their children’s education was being adversely affected by poor quality internet connections.

In response, and as part of our ongoing commitment to ensure no-one is left behind in the digital world, we reaffirmed our commitment to Tech4All.

This long-term, digital inclusion initiative has launched schemes throughout the UK – including recently in Manchester, where we donated 250 of our remote learning pupil packs to schools identified by the Greater Manchester Tech Fund – going a small way to solving the problem we identified in our research with YouGov.

This is work that we will be looking to replicate across Scotland in 2022. Our extensive and longstanding history of working with UK universities – including Edinburgh, Glasgow and HeriotWatt – supports vital research and development.

But our work with universities also includes helping train the next generation of digital
talent. This year we held our second Digital Seeds for the Future, a month-long programme for STEM undergraduate students from across the UK. More than 275 UK students have benefited from the initiative since it began – with 40 from Scottish universities. It is work that we are incredibly proud of.

Despite the challenges that we face in 2021, we believe that this year offers an exciting period for business and investment links between the UK and China, especially as UK business seeks to build back greener in a post-Brexit age.

In that spirit, at Huawei we look forward to working towards our shared goals of collaboration, developing transformative technology, and helping rebuild the economy post-Covid both in Scotland and across the world.

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