SINGAPORE: An additional 20,000 training places will be created as a result of the expansion in the Tech Skills Accelerator (TeSA) programme, and the training will be longer and more targeted than the initial tranche of 27,000 training places already taken up, according to Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim.
Speaking at his ministry’s Committee of Supply debates on Tuesday (Mar 6), Dr Yaacob said the 20,000 places will be created by 2020, as a result of the additional S$145 million investment in TeSA announced during this year’s Budget speech.
The initial training places introduced from April 2016 were shorter and more bite-sized in its content, whereas the latest courses will be longer and more targeted with the programmes used to support skills development in “frontier” technology areas like artificial intelligence, data analytics, cybersecurity, Internet of Things (IoT) and immersive media.
Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat had said in his Budget speech that TeSA will expand into new sectors like manufacturing and professional services where digital technologies are increasingly important.
LEG-UP FOR MID-CAREER ICT PMETS
Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information Janil Puthucheary also said in his parliamentary speech on Tuesday that the ministry is taking to make sure there is support for mid-career working professionals to be equipped for technological changes given that all key sectors are undergoing digital transformation.
“TeSA programmes have been benefitting mid-career professionals. Since 2016, approximately 10,000 TeSA training places have been taken up by those above the age of 40," said Dr Puthucheary. "TeSA will do more to support more mid-career ICT PMETs."
There will be a two-pronged approach to achieve this: TeSA’s integrated career services and cross-sector job curation and retraining, the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) elaborated in its press release.
For the former, it is a support ecosystem ICT professionals can tap on to get career guidance and mentoring, as well as better job matching. Partnering organisations include the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), Singapore Computer Society, Workforce Singapore, Employment and Employability Institute and SGTech (formerly known as the Singapore Infocomm Technology Federation).
In terms of cross-sector job curation and retraining, MCI said ICT job openings exist across many industry sectors but workers may not have the networks or skills to transit into other sectors.
To facilitate these movements, efforts such as working with government bodies like the Ministry of Education (MOE) to identify jobs that ICT professionals can be placed into - ICT associates with MOE schools, for instance - will be carried out. The ministry will also work with industry partners via the Infocommunications Media Development Authority of Singapore’s (IMDA) SME Go Digital programme to curate roles, it added.
These initiatives come even as Dr Yaacob had pointed out that the demand for ICT professionals in Singapore is expected to grow. During the launch of the Skills Framework for Infocomm Technology in November last year, the minister said more than 42,000 ICT professionals will be in demand over the next three years.
He also noted then that the TeSA initiative had enabled more than 16,000 ICT professionals to be trained in new tech skills and prepare them for the digital ecoomy.