2 June 2009 - Speech By RADM(NS) Ronnie Tay, Chief Executive Officer, Infocomm Development Authority Of Singapore, At The Infocomm Professional Development Forum, SMU Conference Hall

Speech By RADM(NS) Ronnie Tay, Chief Executive Officer, Infocomm Development Authority Of Singapore, At The Infocomm Professional Development Forum On Tuesday, 2 June 2009 At 9.50am At SMU Conference Hall

Mr Alphonsus Pang, President of Singapore Computer Society,

Infocomm professionals,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning.

1. I think you will all agree with me that we are living in exciting and challenging times. The fast evolving infocomm technologies are changing the way business is conducted and the way we interact with one another. Economically, we are in the midst of a global economic downturn, with many trying to see if we have reached the bottom yet. And during this period we are also having to contend with the threat of a flu pandemic.

2. However, despite these uncertainties and challenges, one thing remains constant. Infocomm will continue to be relevant, to help us not only overcome the challenges but to generate growth too. The Government continues to invest significantly in the infocomm sector, and recently announced $1.73 billion worth of infocomm tenders for more than 392 projects for FY2009. This will serve to mitigate the impact of the current economic crisis as well as position Singapore for long term success. Similarly, the private sector continues to invest in infocomm, and IDA continues to put out Calls-for-Collaboration for industry to develop innovative products, services and solutions that will benefit enterprises and consumers alike.

3. Key to the development of infocomm infrastructure and services is the talent and capabilities of our infocomm professionals. This is the case not just for our industry here in Singapore but globally too. The emergence of new business models such as cloud computing, virtualisation, Green IT and the need to constantly create new solutions to meet business needs require infocomm professionals who are both creative and technically strong.

4. IDA has launched several manpower development initiatives, some of which are in response to the downturn while others take a strategic long term view to ensuring the supply of good quality infocomm manpower for the infocomm and user industries. Let me now share with you some of these key manpower development initiatives.

5. We recognise that organisations are exercising greater prudence in spending as the business climate remains uncertain. In order that capability development is not compromised during such times, IDA has launched the Enhanced Critical Infocomm Technology Resource Programme, or Enhanced CITREP from 1 April this year. As part of Enhanced CITREP, IDA has increased its funding support for infocomm course and examination fees from 50 to 80 per cent. Companies sponsoring their employees for training will also qualify for Absentee Payroll at $50 per day per trainee. Since 2008, about 300 CITREP courses and certifications, including critical and emerging skill areas, such as infocomm security, interactive digital media, IT Services, network and communications, have been mapped to our National Infocomm Competency Framework or NICF that you may be familiar with. We are also adding more entry level courses for funding support as we want to encourage fresh graduates and entry-level professionals to equip themselves as well. In total, we are ready to support up to 10,000 infocomm professionals under the Enhanced CITREP over the next two years.

6. We also recognise that many companies are adopting hiring restraint, even as our institutes of higher learnings continue to produce cohorts of diploma and degree holders each year. There is therefore a risk that many of our fresh infocomm graduates might not be able to find employment in the industry and may choose to seek employment in jobs not related to infocomm. In order to minimise such diversion of infocomm talent, it is imperative that we increase the opportunities for fresh graduates to gain employment and industry experience during these challenging times. IDA has been working with our industry partners and other government agencies to develop schemes that will provide support to our new infocomm graduates.

7. Let me now speak about the strategic manpower development initiatives developed to position Singapore for long term growth. Firstly, the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts and IDA are investing a total of $55 million over the next two to five years to support infocomm professionals in the areas of talent and capability development. These initiatives focus on attracting top students to study infocomm through our National Infocomm Scholarship and the recently launched Integrated Infocomm Scholarship, as well skills upgrading through our Enhanced CITREP programme.

8. Secondly, the NICF is one of the most comprehensive competency frameworks that have been developed globally by the industry and for the industry. It articulates a suite of competencies needed to perform various infocomm job roles and include analytical, problem solving, creative and logical thinking skills. NICF today covers about 200 job roles in new areas such as infocomm sales and marketing, healthcare and financial services. It has seen wide adoption from the industry including the healthcare cluster and 22 other companies earlier this year. IDA is currently working with the Singapore IT Federation, SiTF, to explore large scale adoption of NICF by its member organisations. I encourage more companies and sectors to leverage on NICF to develop upgrading and development strategies for your employees.

9.  To meet the demand for training courses, IDA is collaborating with WDA to appoint Continuing Education Training or CET Centres for the infocomm industry. The Institute of Systems Science at NUS appointed last December is the first infocomm CET Centre, and we expect to have another three more infocomm CET Centres appointed soon. The CET Centres will develop and run training courses aligned to NICF, which will provide for 10,000 training places over three years. These training courses cover new growth areas like software and applications, project management and infocomm security.

10. To further enhance professionals’ infocomm skills and specific domain knowledge, IDA introduced the Techno-Strategists Programme. This helps our professionals acquire the right skill sets to enhance their organisations’ competitiveness in the respective key economic sectors of digital media and entertainment, financial services, healthcare, retail, and tourism and hospitality. Since April 2008, more than 500 professionals have gained in-depth domain knowledge and good understanding of infocomm applications to develop innovative solutions for their companies. We expect to train at least another 500 professionals by 2010.

11.  Given the speed of technological advances, Singapore’s infocomm manpower capabilities need to keep up with the pace of technology changes if Singapore is to remain in the forefront of technology development and adoption. It is therefore important that we deepen the infocomm knowledge and skill sets of infocomm professionals in Singapore. Toward this end, IDA is working with industry on schemes to develop high-end or “expert” level infocomm manpower skills in emerging technology areas.

12. A career in infocomm is indeed diverse and rewarding. In each and every role that infocomm professionals play, they create new solutions or products and make a difference to their organisations. Let us work together to harness our infocomm talent for future growth.  I wish all of you an enriching and informative day ahead. Thank you.

Last updated on: 13 Mar 2023