The investment will help meet the expected demand of 30,000 new infocomm jobs
By 2020, the Government expects there will be as many as 30,000 new infocomm jobs to be filled as Singapore continues on its Smart Nation journey. But there is fear of shortage in skilled professionals available to meet this rising need for infocomm manpower.
To address the supply-demand imbalance and help Singaporeans take advantage of this new opportunity, the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) is investing $120 million over the next three years to boost the infocomm skills of our homegrown talent. This is twice as much as the same amount spent over the last four years.
Efforts will be focused on high-demand areas such as software development, data analytics, cybersecurity and network & infrastructure.
Announcing the new initiatives in Parliament on April 11, Minister for Communications and Information Dr Yaacob Ibrahim spoke of the need to build a strong Singapore core for the infocomm sector.
“As demand far outstrips current supply, and because the landscape is changing so quickly, it is difficult to meet company needs for skilled manpower without non-Singaporeans entirely. But we must do our best to support our Singaporeans to be highly skilled so that they can compete with global talent,” said Dr Yaacob.
The $120 million will cover a wide range of programmes to establish this Singapore core, focusing on:
building a strong infocomm foundation in the young, from school-goers to undergraduates
beefing up the skills of existing infocomm professionals
broadening talent pool by attracting professionals from other disciplines
Building a strong infocomm foundation
Launched in April 2014, the Code@SG programme aims to develop coding and computational-thinking skills in school-going children. From this year, the programme will be expanded to target 24,000 students every year, up from the existing reach of 22,000 per year. In addition, lower primary students will also be included while secondary school kids will learn more advanced skills such as Python programming.
Students still studying at ITE colleges, polytechnics and local universities here will also get a shot in the arm with more opportunities for them to take up internship and mentorship programmes with the infocomm industry. The Industry Preparation For Pre-Graduates (IPREP) programme – which aims to equip these pre-graduates with real work experience and technical expertise through structured training – will be expanded from the existing 130 students a year to 800 students per year, for the next three years. Having relevant infocomm skillsets before graduation is important because employers are increasingly looking out for new applicants with experience and skills.
Beefing up skills of existing infocomm professionals
The Company-Led Training (CLT) programme is a structured training programme that lasts up to 12 months and is targeted at fresh and mid-level infocomm professionals as well as those from the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) disciplines. The training programme is run by industry partners such as Google, OCBC Bank and Dimension Data Asia and is co-funded by the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA). From this year, up to 1,250 professionals will be selected under CLT for the next three years, a significant boost of over 10 times compared to the current 160 selected candidates a year.
For shorter continuing education courses and certification programs, working professionals have been tapping onto IDA’s Critical Infocomm Technology Resource Programme (CITREP). Moving forward, the new enhanced CITREP+ programme will include funding for entry-level courses and certifications and be more focused on certifications that are in high demand. MCI plans to increase the outreach of CITREP+ to 5,600 professionals per year for the next three years, almost double the current target of 3,000 per year. Students from ITE colleges, polytechnics and universities, as well as full-time national servicemen are also eligible to apply for CITREP+ funding.
Broadening talent pool by attracting professionals from other disciplines
The new Tech Immersion and Placement programme will be launched this year to equip non-infocomm professionals with the requisite skills and certifications to switch over to an infocomm career. Open to fresh graduates and mid-career switchers without an infocomm background, the programme offers intensive courses and boot camps to build the portfolio and skills needed to help the candidates make the switch. Candidates who come from a STEM discipline is preferred. It is also open to existing infocomm professionals who want to upgrade their skills for new tech positions.
The Tech Immersion and Placement programme aims to train about 350 candidates per year over the next three years.