David Lim, Acting Minister for Information, Communications & The Arts and Senior Minister Of State for Defence - Speech Singapore Computer Society's Annual Gala Dinner, Ritz-Carlton Millenia
David Lim, Acting Minister for Information, Communications & The Arts and Senior Minister Of State for Defence - Speech
Singapore Computer Society's Annual Gala Dinner, Ritz-Carlton Millenia
Singapore, 30 March 2002
Ladies and gentlemen:
I am honoured tonight to be invited to this important event, when you will recognize some remarkable individuals who have contributed significantly to the growth of the IT and Communications industry in Singapore. I am delighted to be back amongst former colleagues and collaborators.
Tonight belongs rightly to the ones whom you will recognize this evening for their contribution to the infocomm industry. But let me take a moment or two to also recognize the efforts of all who work in this industry, and to say how the government, in partnership with the industry, intends to further support your professional development.
When we started out some 20 years ago to build an IT industry in Singapore, there were less than 1000 IT professionals in the whole country. Ten years later, that number had grown ten-fold, to 10,000 professionals. Ten years after that, we repeated that remarkable feat, and increased the number another 10 fold to more than 100,000 professionals in both the IT and Communications industries.
Today, 105,000 professionals are the backbone of an industry that contributes 6% to our GDP and produces more than $26 billion in goods and services. Our infocomm technology (ICT) industry is strong and growing.
Developing our talent pool is the cornerstone of our strategies to grow the ICT industry. Tonight, I would like to touch on two efforts that support these strategies.
National Infocomm Competency Centre
Firstly, I am pleased to note that the National Infocomm Competency Centre, or NICC for short, is now operational, with an office at Tras Street.
More importantly, the NICC has expanded its activities so that it now plays the broader role of raising the professional standards and growing the pool of infocomm manpower.
The NICC started off as an organization to certify infocomm manpower skills. Recently, NICC has also taken on the role of administering two key manpower development programmes that the government had initiated, namely CITREP and SMCP.
CITREP stands for the Critical IT Resource Programme, which gives financial support to train infocomm specialists in critical skills urgently required by industry. SMCP is the Strategic Manpower Conversion Programme, which helps professionals in non-infocomm industries that are affected by reduced or changing demand in their industries, to learn new skills so that they can work as infocomm professionals.
The NICC has also set up a web listing of infocomm job vacancies.
All these efforts are useful services to infocomm professionals.
As a joint effort between industry and government, the NICC is closer to the industry, and can more effectively administer these schemes and programmes. By taking on these tasks, the NICC will also relieve the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) to focus on its broader role of promoting the growth of the industry, and to channel its energy to developing new programs that will benefit industry.
Looking ahead, the NICC will also play a part in helping to forecast manpower needs in the industry, and in particular to flag important emerging skills in a rapidly changing industry. I wish the NICC every success in their endeavours.
Secondly, I am happy to announce that IDA will launch a new program to help companies and industry groups implement e-learning for their staff and members.
This program will be called eLEAP or e-Leaning Early Adopters Programme.
e-learning is beginning to show results. The concept is simple and appealing. e-learning allows professionals to overcome the constraints that structured classroom courses impose, by allowing them to learn at their own pace, own time, and own place. The immediate benefit is convenience, although e-learning may also offer additional benefits because it can be customized, and some interactive features may enhance the learning experience.
But e-learning is not a simple matter of putting courseware on-line. This is a new area, and companies and industry groups must still put in some effort to create a viable e-learning environment for their members. This includes designing training material, and building infrastructure to deliver the programs to the students and to manage their progress.
e-LEAP will provide funding support to help companies and industry groups undertake such development work. IDA has set aside about $5 million for this scheme. It is currently prototyping the scheme in collaboration with the industry, and will announce more details of the scheme shortly.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We will need more and better-trained people with specialist skills to take us forward. The government will work closely with industry to continually implement practical programs that will develop our professionals, and expand the range and depth of skills available within the industry. The two programmes I have mentioned tonight contribute to this goal.
But in closing, let me add that skills alone are not enough. We also need an enterprising spirit and an entrepreneurial attitude to succeed. The glamour of rags to riches stories that headlined the era of dotcom companies is behind us. But the infocomm industry is still throwing up new market niches that create real value for business and consumers. Those who are hungry for gain, sharp to spot opportunities, and daring in taking risks will benefit the most from these opportunities. Developing such a spirit must be a new priority for us in the years ahead.
The Singapore Computer Society (SCS) is an important partner in this process. SCS was established in the mainframe era. You have been through all the cycles of change, and stayed relevant by constantly adapting to the changing needs of your members.
I hope you will continue to play your role in raising the professional standards of your members and the industry. But just as importantly, I hope that you will foster a stronger spirit of enterprise and endeavour amongst your members.
Your annual awards to leaders in the infocomm industry honours those who have contributed to the success this industry. I join you in commending the award winners tonight for their vision, passion and leadership. I hope that many more infocomm professionals will be inspired by their example, and strive to bring the infocomm industry in Singapore to greater heights.