Parliament Sitting on 2 October 2017
QUESTION FOR WRITTEN ANSWER
*35. Mr Desmond Choo:
To ask the Minister for Communications and Information in view of Singapore's push to be a smart nation, how is the Ministry equipping mature workers with IT skills to leverage on technology in their workplaces.
Singapore’s move towards a digital economy and a Smart Nation will bring many new opportunities and good jobs for all Singaporeans. To ensure that every Singaporean will be ready to take advantage of such opportunities, we will help all workers, including our more mature workers, upskill and reskill themselves in digital and technological skills, regardless of which sector of work they are in.
Helping ICT Workers
2 We have developed many programmes to assist the mature workers in the InfoComm Technology, or ICT sector, to improve the currency and relevance of their ICT skills through the TechSkills Accelerator, or TeSA in short. MCI launched TeSA last year, recognising the need for a concerted national effort to train, upskill and reskill professionals in ICT skills. Coordinated by IMDA and partners such as SSG and WSG, TeSA is a tripartite initiative between the government, industry and the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC). I am happy to update that since the launch, we have made good progress, with about 12,000 workers across the economy having benefitted from TeSA courses. Of these 12,000 workers, nearly half are mature workers 40 years old and above, though they form about one-third of our ICT workforce. This also reflects that proportionately, more mature workers have been able to benefit from Government’s training initiatives.
3 Beyond courses, TeSA also provides a coordinated career support ecosystem for workers looking to join or develop their careers in ICT. TeSA Integrated Career Services is a collaboration between Workforce Singapore, the Singapore Computer Society (SCS), NTUC and e2i to provide, for example, group and technology mentoring sessions to help guide workers in IT trends and skills needed. To date, 350 workers have participated in these sessions, and more than half of them are mature.
Helping Non-ICT Workers in Other Sectors
4 As we move towards a Smart Nation, other sectors beyond the ICT sector will also have to digitalise and rely more heavily on technology. We are thus collaborating with other lead agencies to help their sectors upgrade and re-skill their workers. Currently about 30 different skills frameworks are also being developed across these sectors. IMDA and SSG are working on harmonising technical competencies across these different skills frameworks to better assist workers in various sectors upgrade themselves in the necessary technological skills.
Helping Workers with Foundational Awareness and Digital Literacy
5 For our workers who are least familiar with technology, we will help them build up foundational digital technology literacy. To this end, SSG will be launching a national programme called SkillsFuture for Digital Workplace to help individuals gain confidence in the use of data, innovation, and technology, and to engender a mindset for change, innovation and resilience. The programme aims to build foundational digital awareness and literacy and enable individuals to perform functional tasks using digital platforms. More details will be announced by SSG.
6 Helping our workers become digital-ready is an integral part of our digital economy and Smart Nation roadmap. I will speak more about our future plans in the upcoming months.