Chinese networking giant Huawei is taking 25 undergraduate students from the UK to China this summer in a bid to develop future talent.
The second year undergraduate students will be studying either science, technology, engineering, maths, law, business or politics. Prior to the selection process, Huawei said it expects candidates to have some knowledge of Mandarin, which automatically rules out the vast majority of UK undergraduates.
The unpaid internship lasts for five weeks, with interns spending two weeks in Beijing and three weeks at the company's head campus in Shenzhen, south-east China. While in China, Huawei said students will learn about the company's culture, strategy and values, in addition to receiving Mandarin lessons and technical training.
However, Huawei has warned students not to get their hopes up that there will be a job at the end of the internship.
"This is a non-salaried work experience scheme and participation in the scheme does not imply that future employment will be offered by Huawei upon graduation, or any time in the future," the company wrote in a document outlining the internship.
In-chan Kim, a future Huawei intern and a second year civil engineering student at Imperial College London, one of the UK's leading science and engineering universities, told Techworld he was looking forward to visiting China as it was a chance to broaden his horizons.
"To be honest it sounds fantastic. They're paying for you to go to China. They're paying for your flight. They pay for your accommodation. They give you food," he said at Huawei's summer reception in Whitehall, London, last night.
Kim, originally from South Korea, added: "Not only that but it's a chance to broaden your horizons. I've never been to China before. So you go there and experience a new culture and something new."
Huawei claims that it is very serious about the role it plays in fostering the next generation of talent in the UK and believes the internships are a testament to its commitment to the country. Indeed, the firm has pledged to invest £1.3 billion in the UK over the next five years and it is planning to open a new £123 million research and development centre in Bristol by 2015.
While Huawei appears to be on good terms with the UK, the company has faced opposition in a number of countries around the world over fears that it could be using its telecoms equipment to help the Chinese government spy on other nations. For example, the US and Australia have openly refused to engage in deals with Huawei, while the UK has set up a Huawei equipment testing lab that is overseen by GCHQ.
Science and universities minister David Willetts told Huawei's acting and rotating CEO Guo Ping that he wants to build the UK's relationship with Huawei, describing the company's summer internship as "excellent".
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