SINGAPORE: As demand for skilled information and communications technology (ICT) professionals continue to grow, the Government will be adopting a multi-pronged approach to grow the local talent pipeline – including setting up a LinkedIn group to encourage overseas professionals to return home.
This was according to Minister for Communications and Information S Iswaran, as he laid out the plans in the Committee of Supply debate in Parliament on Monday (Mar 4).
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The number of ICT professionals employed grew by 5 per cent over 2016-2017 and stands at 189,400 today. Meanwhile, the projected increase in hiring expectations is expected to hit 28,500 by 2020, the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) said in its factsheet.
“The digitalisation of businesses can only succeed if our workers too are equipped to effectively use digital technology,” Mr Iswaran said.
As such, MCI said the TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) programmes will be scaled up to develop more local talent and equip existing IT professionals with in-demand skills. TeSA is a partnership between the Government, industry and the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) to build and develop a skilled ICT workforce here.
These upscaling efforts, MCI said, will be done in three ways:
- Supporting companies: TeSA will support businesses in developing a tech skills development plan, taking reference from the Skills Framework for ICT, so that their employees can upgrade and acquire relevant skills.
- Enhancing emerging tech training options: TeSA will also enhance its suite of local training partnerships with new entities to support training in emerging and deep tech skills such as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, cloud computing and blockchain.
- Making inroads into more sectors: Trade associations and chambers (TACs) will be roped in as multipliers to scale up ICT talent development efforts in other sectors on top of ICT, finance and healthcare.
These efforts are augmented by efforts such as the Overseas Singaporeans in Tech LinkedIn community group, Mr Iswaran noted.
The by-invitation online community is for companies and the Singapore Government to engage with Singaporeans based overseas, such as students interested in tech and professionals working in the industry, MCI said.
This LinkedIn group is aimed at encouraging these overseas Singaporean to relocate to Singapore or work for Singapore companies in their overseas residences. Since its formation in January this year, more than 500 overseas Singaporeans have connected over this platform, the minister said.
It is a joint effort with the Overseas Singaporean Unit, MCI, Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA), Smart Nation and Digital Government Group, Government Technology Agency (GovTech) and the Economic Development Board.
Mr Iswaran also announced a digital learning guide resource for employers to help plan their workers’ digital training that is aligned with the business needs.
The guide, developed by IMDA and SkillsFuture Singapore, will be piloted for the retail and logistics sectors. Interested parties can access it on the IMDA website from July this year, MCI said.
The ministry also revealed plans on growing the local media sector after identifying key challenges it currently face, such as an increasing demand for writers and storytelling skills, it said in a separate factsheet.
As such, the IMDA will introduce a new Story Lab initiative that aims to nurture storytelling and intellectual property (IP) creation skills.
Story Lab programmes are targeted at media professionals in both media and non-media sectors, as well as aspirants in institutes of higher learning (IHLs). These include the Pitch Fest by Screenwriters Association Singapore and the visual storytelling masterclass with documentary cinematographer Iris Ng, which is in partnership with the Singapore Association of Motion Picture Professionals.
IMDA will also launch a Story Lab Apprenticeship (SLA) in partnership with key media companies like Mediacorp, HBO Asia and Turner Asia Pacific to provide customised training programmes for fresh media professionals so they can acquire the skills needed for in-demand jobs.
“Promising talents will gain exposure to storytelling and content production, as well as valuable experience in the business of media through this immersive and experiential programme,” MCI said.
IMDA will announce more details by the third quarter of this year, Mr Iswaran said.