Our Scholarship Recipients
Parents and Family Members
Ladies and Gentlemen
2 It is my pleasure to join all of you for the inaugural Singapore Digital Scholarship Award Ceremony. Let me begin by warmly congratulating all our scholarship recipients! These awards recognise your academic and co-curricular achievements, and mark the beginning of the next stage in your education and career. The awards are equally an acknowledgement of your parents and family members who have supported you throughout this journey. Well done and congratulations to everyone!
Opportunities in the Digital Economy
3 These scholarships focus on the ICM sector and we have good reasons to be optimistic about Singapore’s push towards a digital economy. Global trends, technological change, and the convergence of media and technology are creating new opportunities and possibilities for our industries, businesses, and people. In fact, as we continue to seek out new areas of growth, already some 10,000 jobs in the tech sector are expected to be created over the next three years.
4 As testament to our vibrant tech sector, 80 of the world’s top 100 tech firms have operations in Singapore, with Google, Amazon, Facebook and Alibaba having well-established regional operations here. Singapore is also home to leading international media companies, such as Disney, Lucasfilm, HBO and Netflix. These companies recognise that Singapore is located in the heart of Asia, where the growing middle classes are demanding more digital services and online content.
5 But, the digital economy is not just about the tech sector; it also creates opportunities in non-tech sectors. For instance, the 200,000 infocomm media professionals employed in our economy are in both the tech and non-tech sectors, and in a range of roles from software engineers, story-tellers, data protection officers, to game developers. These talents continue to carve out a niche for themselves while keeping pace with the evolving industry landscape.
Partnerships key to building talent pipeline for the digital economy
6 To help us fully realise these opportunities, the industry has been a key partner, working with the government to build a talent pipeline. We work together to equip the workforce with the necessary skills; ensuring our people are industry-ready and poised to ride on the opportunities that this new digital age brings. Given the dynamic tech landscape, our ability to compete will be defined by how well we have a constructive dialogue and close partnership between industry and government. It is not just about the kind of talent we have in the industry; it is not just about the kind of talent we have in the government. What it is about is the way we can bring the best talent from the industry and government together to work on regulations or the development of the industry and its talents, if we are to succeed in this new digital economy. The SG:D scholarship is a good example of this public-private sector collaboration.
7 The Scholarship was launched last year, bringing together the different scholarships offered by IMDA under one single brand. This is to align IMDA’s efforts with that of the industry, to nurture a strong pool of infocomm media leaders, and over the long run, build a strong foundation for our digital economy.
8 Young Singaporeans clearly recognise and attracted to the opportunity presented by SGD Scholarship. In fact, this year, we received more than 1,000 applications from talent seeking to make a difference in Singapore’s digital future. This is a 75 percent increase from last year.
9 Past scholarship recipients have gone on to exciting jobs in the industry upon graduation. Lee Sing Jie, for instance, interned in Germany during his undergraduate studies. He later worked with Garena as a software engineer and eventually led an iOS team of nine engineers. I understand he is back in Singapore and is part of Facebook’s first product engineering team here.
10 Another outstanding recipient is Rainy Fu, a former media education scholar who is currently an art director at Spotify in New York. She has also set up an events design company, Rainy Graphics. In her spare time, she returns to her alma mater at Nanyang Polytechnic as a guest speaker and mentors young, promising Singaporeans to broaden their worldview and give them valuable insights, connections and resources to advance their careers.
11 Another recipient who has also demonstrated an innovative and entrepreneurial flair is Kyle Tan. He co-founded Airsquire, which specialises in image analytics for construction design. It builds digital solutions for efficient construction and accurate 3D digital twins, saving time and improving accuracy for clients.
12 So to the 81 recipients today – no pressure! The award is an acknowledgement of what you have accomplished so far, and I hope it also serves as a source of inspiration and encouragement for what more you can achieve in your journey, just as your predecessors have done.
Partnerships to provide more varied and overseas opportunities
13 To capture the opportunities afforded by the digital economy, we should also cast our net wide and be prepared to look beyond our shores to learn from others. In that regard, the SGD scholarship, together with industry partners, provides meaningful internship experiences and overseas exposure opportunities.
14 For example, two award recipients pursuing cybersecurity postgraduate studies from SUTD, Herman Wijaya and Ong Peng Kiat, have gone to Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands for their overseas attachment. They are there for three-and-a-half months to work on their respective projects on code mutations and anomaly detections.
15 Our Polytechnic scholars also had the opportunity to head to Bangkok and Sydney to enhance their expertise. Melissa Ng, a final year scholar from Ngee Ann Polytechnic, worked as a software engineering intern with Sphere8, a tech start-up in Thailand. There, she learned more about the Sphere8 ecosystem mapping platform, data analytics and new product development.
16 With the enhanced Singapore Digital Scholarship, more talented Singaporeans will have an even greater opportunity to pursue their passion in the infocomm media industry.
17 The polytechnic scholarships now include students studying courses in arts, design and media. Undergraduate and postgraduate recipients will also be encouraged to pursue their passion in media. Some of them will take up studies in areas like film, interactive and video design, UX/UI, as well as learn how to harness the latest technology in storytelling. Beyond media and cybersecurity, IMDA has extended its postgraduate scholarships to groom deep local expertise in other specialised areas, such as artificial intelligence and data analytics.
18 These enhancements to the scholarship, as well as the regional/international exposure opportunities, help to keep pace with the dynamic developments in the industry landscape, and the increasing convergence between technology and media. We recognise the importance of growing our creative talent to harness this growth, and how robust cross-disciplinary studies will better equip our people for the jobs that they may take up in the future, as well as strengthen and deepen the overall capability in the infocomm media sector. Ultimately, the scholarship will continue to be awarded to those who have a deep passion to pursue their craft in the different areas, such as film, animation, TV and games.
19 In short, what we are trying to do here is to nurture a multi-disciplinary pool of deep talent in the infocomm media industry. What we increasingly see is that tech skills and domain skills make for a very power combination when brought together; unleashing a whole new set of possibilities.
20 I believe the SGD scholarship and the exposure it gives you, will give you a good start in the infocomm media sector. There are many opportunities for career development and growth in this fast-changing landscape. I urge you to make full use of these opportunities, identify your own niche, and make a mark on the industry.
21 Once again, my congratulations to all our award recipients, parents and family members who are here today. I encourage you to chase your dreams, innovate, and actively seek out opportunities to learn and contribute, so that together we can write the code for Singapore’s digital future together.
22 Thank you.