Speech by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts at the SCS Gala Dinner & IT Leaders Awards

8 March 2012 - Speech by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts at the SCS Gala Dinner & IT Leaders Awards at Shangri-La Hotel

Speech by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts at the SCS Gala Dinner & IT Leaders Awards 2012 on 2 March 2012, 8.15 pm at Shangri-La Hotel

Mr Alphonsus Pang, President, SCS
Members of SCS
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

Good evening.

1. It is my pleasure to join you here today at the SCS Gala Dinner and the IT Leaders Awards 2012. This is a special occasion where infocomm professionals gather and celebrate the vibrancy of the infocomm ecosystem, as well as to honour those who have made notable contributions to Singapore's infocomm sector.

Stable Outlook in Singapore's Infocomm Sector

2. Despite global projections of slower economic growth in 2012, the outlook for infocomm remains stable. Worldwide IT spending this year is expected to grow to a total of $3.8 trillion1, a 3.7 percent increase from 2011. At home, results from the Business Expectations Survey2 for the first quarter this year has also shown that manpower for infocomms and communications industry is expected to remain stable.

3. Singapore's infocomm sector has also developed rapidly over the past few years. Since 2008, more than 80 foreign start-ups have established critical infocomm functions and ventures in Singapore. For instance, Germany-based Netbiscuits, an innovation start-up and a leading B2B web software platform for development, publishing and advertising in the mobile Internet, started its Singapore operations in December last year and is looking to hire more developers this year.

4. MNCs have also continued to invest in Singapore. IBM, for example, opened its regional Services Integration Hub in Singapore in December last year. Likewise, Google held the groundbreaking ceremony of its Singapore data centre, the company's first centre in South East Asia last December. Once completed, there will be many new job opportunities for infocomms professionals.

Government is Committed to Developing Infocomm Talents

5. With such vibrant industry developments, Singapore needs the right quality and quantity of infocomm manpower. The Government is committed to collaborating with our partners to develop infocomm talents who can respond to global industry shifts and help strengthen Singapore's role as an infocomm hub. IDA's Infocomm Manpower Development Roadmap Version 2.0, or MDEV 2.0, [Note: read as "em-dev-two-point-zero"] was launched last year to develop and expand Singapore's infocomm talent pool. Since then, 13 MDEV 2.0 programmes have been rolled out by IDA and its partners.

6. One of these programmes is the Hybrid Skills Development Programme, or HSP for short. The programme equips infocomm professionals with in-depth industry domain knowledge and infocomm skills to help enterprises in various economic sectors leverage on infocomm for business growth. I am pleased to announce that the National University of Singapore's School of Computing has been appointed the first lead training provider for the healthcare industry under HSP. NUS will be working with major healthcare and IT organisations such as the Ministry of Health Holdings and the Integrated Health Information Systems to train up to 600 infocomm professionals in acquiring healthcare informatics skills, and up to 1,000 healthcare professionals in acquiring IT application skills over the next three years.

7. Another programme, IDA's Critical Infocomm Training Resource Programme Expanded, or CITREP Expanded, [Note: read as "See-trap Expanded"] provides funding support for selected courses and certification for infocomm professionals. The programme has identified 300 courses aligned to IDA's National Infocomm Competency Framework which details competencies required for key infocomm job roles. Since April 2011, 5,000 professionals have benefitted from CITREP Expanded, building up capabilities in critical and emerging areas such as Cloud Computing, Business Analytics and Green ICT to keep abreast with the challenges of the evolving infocomm industry.

Strong Need to Continue Building Pipeline of Infocomm Talent

8. Apart from the development of infocomm professionals, it is also critical that Singapore attracts young talents into the infocomm sector to drive Singapore's growth as an infocomm hub. IDA's National Infocomm Scholarship that started in 2004, enables outstanding university students to pursue their interest in infocomm and develop their infocomm capabilities. This year, 28 local companies, global MNCs and government agencies are sponsoring organisations for the National Infocomm Scholarship. As a result of the strong support, 239 students have benefitted from the Scholarship to date.

9. Another academic programme, IDA's Enhanced Learning in Information Technology Programme, or ELITE, [Note: read as "Elite"] enables students to acquire practical exposure through company internships and mentorships while in university. Started in 2008, this year's programme has received the support of 52 partners, including 13 new partners, benefitting 265 top first-year and second-year infocomm undergraduates to date.


10. To conclude, I would like to express my appreciation to our valuable partners for their unwavering commitment to the development of infocomm professionals in Singapore. I also encourage more partners to come forward to support the development of Singapore's infocomm talents.

11. On this note, I would like to commend SCS on its good efforts in supporting the development of Singapore's infocomm professionals.

12. Congratulations to our IT Leader Award winners who have also played key roles in Singapore's infocomm sector.

13. I wish you a pleasant evening. Thank you.

Notes to Editor:

1 Figures obtained from "Gartner Says Worldwide IT Spending to Grow 3.7 Percent in 2012" http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=1888514

2 Figures obtained from Business Expectations Survey Quarter 1, 2012 http://www.singstat.gov.sg/docs/default-source/default-document-library/news/press_releases/bes1q2012.pdf