More support for poly and ITE graduates to get tech jobs, new data protection programme for businesses
SINGAPORE: Students and graduates of polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) will get more support to clinch technology-related jobs amid a fast-growing digital economy, said Minister of State for Communications and Information Tan Kiat How on Friday (Mar 4).
“We will put in place a structured, end-to-end approach to better support our polytechnic and ITE students, starting with 1,000 places over the next 3 years,” he announced during his ministry’s Committee of Supply debate.
A TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) for ITEs and Polytechnics (TIP) Alliance comprising leading tech firms and major hirers will be formed by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA).
The latest move comes after some polytechnic and ITE graduates from Information and Digital Technologies (IDT) courses shared that they could not find suitable entry-level roles in their areas of study, said Mr Tan.
Others have encountered employers “who prefer university graduates”, while there are also those who find it difficult to adapt to the rapid changes in the sector after a break such as National Service or other reasons.
“Structured support and clearly-defined scaffolding in their career pathways can make a world of difference,” Mr Tan said.
The alliance will “enhance the quality of internship opportunities” for polytechnic and ITE students.
After graduation, students can take up apprenticeships at participating firms under place and train programmes. These companies will also establish “skills-oriented training plans and pathways for tech roles”, including certifications and specialist training.
Graduates interested in further studies will also be supported through Work-Study diploma or degree programmes across growth areas like artificial intelligence, cloud and cybersecurity, he added.
Several companies, such as Accenture, IBM, NCS and PSA Corporation, have made “significant commitments” to provide internship, apprenticeship or placement opportunities, said Mr Tan as he urged more to join this effort.
More will also be done to strengthen the pipeline of university graduates in this area, such as establishing new programmes and specialisations aimed at supporting emerging tech needs in different sectors.
One example is the new degree for applied computing with a specialisation in financial technology (FinTech) that will be available at the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) this year.
The three-year programme will be a work-study degree and SIT will offer 40 places for its first intake. Students will be trained in software engineering, project management, as well as growth areas like machine learning and blockchain, while being equipped with relevant financial domain knowledge.
This has “received endorsements” from industry partners, such as AIA Singapore, DBS, JP Morgan, and Standard Chartered, said IMDA and the Monetary Authority of Singapore in a joint release.
There is also the need to upskill and reskill the country’s existing tech workforce amid rapid technological advances.
Among other efforts, IMDA will launch the ICT Jobs Transformation Map later this year to help employers and employees across the sector identify areas of high impact, as well as the relevant upskilling or reskilling opportunities needed, Mr Tan said.
HELPING FIRMS TO DIGITALISE, GUARD AGAINST DATA BREACHES
For businesses, a new data protection and cybersecurity solution will be launched in April to help them protect themselves against cyber attacks and data breaches.
The new Data Protection Essentials (DPE) programme will enable small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to acquire a basic level of data protection and security practices, said IMDA and the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) in a joint media factsheet.
Under which, a list of curated service providers will provide a one-stop professional service for the SMEs.
During the onboarding process, service providers will consider the SMEs’ profiles, as well as their operational needs and exposure to security risk. They will then help SMEs to put in place cybersecurity and data protection measures, including anti-virus and anti-malware, encryption of data and back-up solutions.
SMEs that have implemented the DPE will be listed on IMDA’s website. In the event of a data breach, the Personal Data Protection Commission “may consider an organisation’s implementation of the DPE as a mitigating factor”, the authorities added.
The new programme will be complemented by the Cyber Essentials mark and the Cyber Trust mark, which will be launched by the CSA towards the end of next month to recognise businesses that have good cybersecurity measures in place.
“Obtaining the trustmarks would give businesses and their customers the confidence that certain cybersecurity and data protection standards have been met,” said Mr Tan. “I encourage business to view these trustmarks as investments and a competitive advantage.”
Meanwhile, there will be continued support to help businesses go digital.
For example, a new industry digital plan will be launched for the legal sector. Such industry-specific plans provides firms with a step-by-step guide on digital solutions and skills training curated for each stage of their growth.
The existing 20 industry plans will also be refreshed “to incorporate new digital utilities, relevant technological advances and best practices”, Mr Tan said.
The Grow Digital initiative, which curates e-commerce platforms to help firms reach international markets, will also be expanded.
Since its launch in 2020, the initiative has helped more than 2,500 firms access markets in 10 countries, while building capabilities in digital marketing, business matching and door-to-door fulfilment, said Mr Tan.
“This year, Grow Digital will bring more firms to global markets with a broader group of e-commerce platforms,” he told the House.