Huawei will this year pick 14 undergraduates from the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, University College London (UCL) and Southampton. To meet the selection requirements, students must be between their second and third year and studying a technology or science-related discipline.
Willetts said: "The Huawei student work experience scheme provides a fantastic opportunity for undergraduate students to spend time in China benefiting from valuable hands-on experience with one of the world's leading technology companies. Programmes such as this one build upon the agreement both governments made at last autumn's education summit to promote student mobility between the UK and China. Research shows that time spent abroad is academically and personally rewarding for graduates. The experience gained is also valued by employers who are increasingly looking for graduates able to operate confidently in a globalised world."
The selected students will travel to China on a five-week work placement starting in Beijing in August 2012, where they will gain experience in working in Huawei's dynamic global business environment. The scheme will start with a two week cultural immersion course, where the undergraduates will gain experience in Huawei's working culture, strategy and values.
"Attracting a new generation of talent is integral to the growth of our business both in the UK and internationally," said Victor Zhang, CEO of Huawei UK. "We were so impressed with the quality of candidates from last year's scheme that we decided to roll it out for a second year. Equipping young people with the skills needed to grow in a business such as Huawei is integral to fostering further innovation within our industry."
As well as being taught some Mandarin, the students will be given exposure to Chinese culture and working practices, in order to obtain a true understanding of what would be involved in working for a major Chinese internal company. The undergraduates will also receive the obligatory training into the technologies which Huawei's business is founded on.
Huawei employs 62,000 engineers in 23 R&D centres around the world, and recruits between 6,000 and 10,000 new graduate trainees annually. Based on the eventual selection of its 2012 intake, the company will tailor its work placement scheme to the individual interests of the chosen students, so that they gain maximum value from their training.