06 March 2015 - Speech by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information, at the Singapore Computer Society (SCS) Gala Dinner & IT Leader Awards 2015 on 6 March 2015 at 8:00 pm, at the Shangri-La Hotel, Island Ballroom.
Speech by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information, at the Singapore Computer Society (SCS) Gala Dinner & IT Leader Awards 2015 on 6 March 2015 at 8:00 pm, at the Shangri-La Hotel, Island Ballroom
Mr Chak Kong Soon, President, Singapore Computer Society (SCS)
Ladies and Gentlemen
Good evening. It is the time of the year when we recognise and celebrate the success of our IT Leaders. I would like to congratulate the winners of this year's IT Leader Awards. Your achievements will serve as an inspiration for many others after you to work towards developing innovations for the local ICT industry and advancing the state of IT in Singapore. This will help pave the way for Singapore’s Smart Nation vision, which aims to better the lives of our people through technology.
Opportunities brought by a Smart Nation
2. As part of Singapore’s Smart Nation development, we will see the large-scale deployment of sensors, autonomous systems, and wireless or mobile solutions. These will drive the demand for IT professionals, especially those specialising in data analytics and cyber security.
Development of Infocomm Professionals
3. DPM Tharman’s announcement of the SkillsFuture initiatives at Budget 2015 marks a new phase of investment in our people, and will enable every individual to maximise his or her potential.
4. We believe that the development of a skilled workforce will be best achieved through workplace-based training where people can work on real-world projects, gain in-depth exposure and relevant experience. In this regard, IDA has worked closely with the industry to train our ICT talents and help them scale up in line with the direction of SkillsFuture.
5. Let me share some recent examples. In just the last quarter of last year, we have three large corporations, OCBC, e-Cop and Google, on-board to collectively train 130 trainees for the Company Led Training Programme. This programme aims to fast-track fresh graduates into technical specialist roles. With SkillsFuture, we will scale up the number of trainees significantly over the next five years, and IDA welcomes further discussions with companies interested to participate in this programme.
6. We are also reaching out to experienced tech professionals. IDA has launched various Centres of Attachment with leading technology providers, such as Microsoft and EMC, to equip these professionals with in-depth skills in emerging areas like cyber security, cloud architecture and data science through industry attachment and mentorship.
7. We also have a wide range of online courses available for ICT professionals to constantly refresh their skills anytime, anywhere, thereby increasing the flexibility for skills acquisition by both employees and employers. A pilot conducted with Coursera for Massive Open Online Course for Data Science and Analytics saw strong participation of more than 600 registrations from both the private and public sector. The online course is supplemented by face-to-face discussions with experts for participants to further strengthen their understanding. IDA will work with leading training providers to provide a wider range of online courses for our ICT workforce to level up and re-skill quickly in new and emerging areas. Non ICT professionals can also gain new tech skills easily.
SkillsFuture and Nurturing Our Young
8. With the millennial generation soon becoming a big part of our workforce, it is important that we also look into developing the younger generation. IDA is working with the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA), Ministry of Education (MOE) and the industries to enhance internship programmes and develop the SkillsFuture Earn and Learn programme for the ICT sector, allowing polytechnic and ITE graduates to acquire practical skills while working.
9. To attract high performing GCE ‘O’ level students to pursue ICT related courses at polytechnic, IDA will also introduce the Infocomm Polytechnic or iPoly Scholarship this year. At the same time, the iPoly Awards will help qualifying students having financial difficulties pay for their studies.
Collaboration with Industry
10. All these initiatives would not be possible without the strong support of our industry partners. I understand that just recently, SCS and IDA had initiated discussions on engaging young ICT professionals. By studying the “early years” working experience of this group of young professionals, SCS and IDA aim to better understand their thinking and the challenges they faced in their careers. Findings from the study can potentially help to shape Singapore’s ICT manpower initiatives, which will in turn help retain talent in the long run. I would like to commend SCS for their commitment to the development of the next generation of infocomm professionals in Singapore.
11. Indeed, we need the support of employers, industry players, and industry associations to recognise the importance of lifelong learning and continual training so as to develop this culture in their organisations. We also need individuals to take ownership to acquire deeper skills relevant to their jobs by going back for education and training in the course of their careers. This will enable them to level up and get better remuneration. With the concerted efforts of everyone, I believe we will be able to steer Singapore’s next phase of development towards an advanced economy and an inclusive society.12. Once again, I congratulate our award winners and I wish everyone a pleasant evening ahead. Thank you