1. Digitalisation has transformed the way businesses operate and how we as individuals live and work. Even as the global macroeconomic downturn has presented new uncertainties, the digital economy remains a bright spot, driving growth for businesses and opportunities for our workforce. This is why the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) has committed to: 

a. Helping businesses keep pace with rapid technological advances and differentiate themselves from competitors, while safeguarding themselves against new digital risks; and
b. Supporting workers and those about to join the workforce in acquiring industry-relevant skills to position themselves for new opportunities within the digital domain.

Digital Enterprise Blueprint: Embracing the next bound of digital opportunities for our businesses

2. Later this year, MCI will launch the Digital Enterprise Blueprint, a comprehensive roadmap that builds on MCI’s ongoing efforts to drive digitalisation across the economy. In the process, MCI will be consulting industry leaders, trade associations, and companies across different sectors which have worked closely with the MCI-family in developing our upcoming initiatives. 

3. Some of these initiatives include: 

a. At the national level: We are developing and scaling the adoption of Digital Utilities, which are foundational digital services to enable firms’ access to the Digital Economy, such as Corppass, InvoiceNow and PayNow. To encourage the adoption of digital utilities such as InvoiceNow, we have rolled out the InvoiceNow Transaction Bonus in November 2022. This provides $2001 to all businesses for sending a total of 10 e-invoices on the InvoiceNow network. Currently, companies already have options to onboard Corppass upon incorporation and PayNow upon setting up bank account2. We will be working with service providers to expand this to InvoiceNow. 

b. At the sectoral level: To address sector-specific opportunities and challenges, as well as to ensure that the 20 Industry Digital Plans (IDPs) continue to remain relevant to the needs of SMEs, IMDA will work with the sector lead agencies to progressively refresh our Industry Digital Plans (IDPs) to guide firms on digital solutions and corresponding training programmes to adopt, based on sector and growth stage. Refreshed IDPs for Retail and Security sectors, and a new IDP for Legal sector based on the refreshed IDP framework will be launched in 2023. 

c. At the firm level: We will continue to raise SMEs’ digital maturity by extending the Advanced Digital Solutions scheme (ADS), which was launched in 2020 and has supported close to 750 SMEs in adopting 33 advanced and integrated solutions. 

d. We will also provide better support for SMEs to protect themselves from cyber-attacks by launching a scheme to provide subsidised cybersecurity consultancy services and tailored cybersecurity health plans to help SMEs work towards national cybersecurity certification. Cybersecurity consultants will take on the role of the SMEs’ “Chief Information Security Officers” (CISO), akin to providing a Chief Information Security Officers-as-a-Service (CISOaaS) to SMEs. This initiative will be made available through the existing Chief Technology Officer-as-a-Service (CTOaaS) platform. Refer to Annex C-1 for more details on this scheme. 

Empowering our tech workforce: Deepening industry-relevant tech skills for our digital future

4. The I&C sector remains one of our economy’s fastest growing sectors, with a long-term growth of 40% in the resident workforce over the past five years. Even after accounting for recent retrenchments, around 9,000 job openings remain available as of September 2022. Beyond the I&C sector, the demand for tech talent across the economy also remains strong, particularly in roles such as cybersecurity and AI. More than half of the tech workforce is employed outside the I&C sector, in areas such as Finance or Manufacturing. 

5. MCI is contributing towards government-wide efforts to nurture a resilient future-ready workforce, with a focus on helping our locals access these good tech jobs and in building deep tech skills in high-demand areas.

Upskilling our existing tech workforce to stay competitive with the needs of tomorrow

6. MCI is working with government agencies to identify the skills and jobs needed to thrive in a fast-changing digital future to anticipate industry needs and guide reskilling efforts for emerging job roles. The I&C Jobs Transformation Map, launched last year, identifies emerging technological trends and assesses their impact on the I&C workforce. It allows employers to pre-emptively improve the quality and relevance of their existing I&C professionals, through guiding them in redesigning jobs, or availing upskilling or reskilling opportunities to their employees. IMDA will scale up reskilling efforts by appointing multiple consortia of training partners to develop flagship reskilling programmes with employers in three key areas: i) Software Engineering; ii) Cloud & Mobility; and iii) AI & Analytics.

7. In partnership with industry, MCI is training deep tech specialists who will be key to maximising the impact of the latest technological developments and progressing our economy to a more advanced stage of digital transformation. These areas include:

a. 5G: IMDA has appointed the National University of Singapore and Singapore Polytechnic to lead a consortium of IHLs, telcos and companies known as the Singapore 5G & Telecoms Academy (5G Academy). Since 2020, the 5G academy has equipped around 10,000 professionals with skills in areas such as 5G network architecture or software development, exceeding the initial target of 5,000 set of 3 years since its launch.

b. AI:  Through IMDA’s TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) initiative, we have partnered with industry to train around 2,600 people in AI and Data Analytics and place them into good tech jobs. AI Singapore in particular have helped train more than 230 apprentices through the AI Apprenticeship Programme with 80% of them receiving job offers before graduation.

c. Cyber: The Government is working closely with industry partners to build deep cybersecurity skills, with around 1,200 individuals trained and placed in cybersecurity jobs under TeSA (including CSAT), and another 450 trained at the intermediate and advanced levels through the CSA Academy. CSA is also partnering industry to empower more fresh graduates and mid-career professionals to enter cybersecurity roles such as through the Cyber Security Associates and Technologists (CSAT) Programme. CSA in particular is leading by example through the Cybersecurity Development Programme (CSDP), supporting the training of and hiring 170 cybersecurity engineers since 2020. All individuals who successfully complete the CSDP will be awarded a ModularMaster Certificate in Cybersecurity by the Singapore University of Technology and Design, alongside other industry-recognised cybersecurity certifications. 

Empowering Singaporeans to access good tech jobs

8. Mid-career workers: In partnership with industry, MCI will continue to empower mid-career workers to upskill and access new opportunities through IMDA’s TeSA initiative, with around 15,000 Singaporeans placed in good tech jobs.

9. Institute of Technical Education (ITE) and Polytechnic Graduates: MCI is enhancing the employability of ITE and Polytechnic graduates through the TechSkills Accelerator for ITE and Polytechnics (TIP) Alliance, launched last year by DPM Heng Swee Keat. The TIP Alliance brings together industry leaders to provide 1,000 job opportunities for our Singaporean students and graduates from Polytechnics and ITE over three years, and equips them with industry-relevant skills. Already, leading employers in both tech and non-tech sectors have stepped up with commitments for 500 job opportunities in high-demand areas such as Software Engineering, Cloud Computing, Cybersecurity, and Network and Infrastructure.

10. MCI and MOE will work closely with Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) to strengthen the many existing linkages with industry by having stronger industry representation in all IHL committees. We will partner Singapore Computer Society (SCS), the leading I&C professional society, and SGTech, the trade association for Singapore’s tech industry, to identify key industry leaders and areas for improvement to our tech workforce and graduates.

[1] First $50 will be disbursed upon completion of the first e-invoice transaction, and next $150 will be disbursed if the remaining 9 e-invoice transactions are completed within a year from the first e-invoice transaction.

[2] Currently, there are 9 participating banks for PayNow Corporate.

Annex C-1: CSA to Launch Scheme to Develop Cybersecurity Health Plans with Funding Support for Small-Medium Enterprises 


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Transcript of Comments Made by Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister for Communications and Information and Minister-in-charge of Smart Nation and Cybersecurity, at Panel Session on “Cyber Strategy and Digital Governance – Protecting Sovereignty and Building Resilience” of The Sydney Dialogue, on 5 Apr 2023 Speeches Cyber Security, Government Technology, Infocomm Media 05 Apr 23
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