Speech by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information at Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) School of Information Technology Graduation Ceremony

6 May 2016 - Speech by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information at Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) School of Information Technology Graduation Ceremony on 6 May 2016 (Friday) at 9:15am, at NYP Auditorium

Speech by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information at Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) School of Information Technology Graduation Ceremony on 6 May 2016 (Friday) at 9:15am, at NYP Auditorium

Ms Jeanne Liew 
Principal of Nanyang Polytechnic

NYP Board of Governors

Members of the NYP Advisory Committee

Faculty members

And most importantly, Graduating Students

1. Good morning!

2. I am glad to share this happy occasion with all of you. Congratulations to our new graduates for reaching this milestone. You have worked hard to get here and it is important that we recognise all the efforts that have taken you this far. I also wish to congratulate your parents, family and friends, whose love and support helped bring you this far. Well done everyone! 

3. All of you are about to embark on a new phase in your lives. Some will further your studies, others will serve their National Service, and some will join the workforce. Whichever path you choose, the road ahead is exciting. The world is changing rapidly, thanks to technology. Some say we are on the cusp of the 4th Industrial Revolution (after mechanisation, mass production and digitisation). Admittedly, some of these changes are challenging. At the same time, it also opens up many new opportunities for the bold and enterprising. And I would add that being in Singapore, and having come through the Singapore education system, that we are well positioned to thrive in this exciting future.

4. Why do I say that? Three reasons: First, because Singapore is a place which embraces technology to create opportunities for the future. Second, because we are committed to maximising the potential of our people, including ICT professionals. Third, because we have a world-class ICT workforce. Let me elaborate on each of them.

Smart Nation

5. First, Singapore is a place which embraces technology to create new opportunities for the future. One way we are doing so is through our Smart Nation initiatives, which aim to harness technologies to improve the lives of our citizens. From sensors that can improve public transport, e-services that anticipate Singaporeans’ needs, to health management software to enhance the quality of life for our seniors, we are determined to create a brighter future through technology. 

6. Many of you are familiar with Smart Nation, having submitted projects to various Smart Nation Global Challenges. For instance, several of you had collaborated with the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) on the “Pocket OneMap”, a mobile app that leverages SLA’s OneMap to provide location-based information. This project won the Gold Award in the Most Innovative Project category at the inaugural MOE Innergy Awards and is now available for everyone to download on their mobile phones. Another team developed an app called “SilverTune” to provide music therapy to stroke patients and elderly Singaporeans with moderate dementia. This project was funded by the Tote Board and done in collaboration with Khoo Teck Puat Hospital and AWWA Elderly Care Centre. These are just two examples of how we are using technology to improve Singaporeans’ lives, and working together to build a Smart Nation. 

TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA)

7. The second reason why we should be confident about the future is because the Government is helping students and workers develop the skills and expertise to succeed. Last month, I announced that we would set aside $120 million to accelerate the development of infocomm capabilities for Singaporeans over the next three years. This will go a long way to build a strong Singapore core in the ICT sector, especially in rapidly growing fields like data analytics, cyber security, software development and network infrastructure.

8. An important platform to grow these capabilities is the TechSkills Accelerator, or TeSA for short. TeSA will be the umbrella framework for ICT-related training programmes and career development for all ICT professionals. The TeSA framework will be broadly structured into two focus areas: TeSA Core and TeSA Sector. TeSA Core will focus on core or foundational ICT skills that are relevant across all industries, such as cyber security and data analytics. These are the core skills that all ICT professionals will need to do well in their careers, regardless of which sector you are working in. 

9. At the same time, we know that the demand for ICT skills is getting more specialised. For example, banks are not just looking for ICT professionals with strong foundations in data analytics, but also professionals who understand the financial industry, and who can apply their skills to complex financial transactions and analyses. That is why we will also launch a series of TeSA Sector programmes, which comprise more specialised skillsets that build on the TeSA Core foundation. We will start with the finance and healthcare sectors, to equip ICT professionals in those fields with additional skills which are more relevant to the financial industry and healthcare institutions. 

10. Although TeSA will significantly boost our ability to train workers, our objective is not just to train more ICT professionals, but to help them get better jobs and advance in their careers. That is why TeSA will include strong partnerships with employers and the industry, to ensure that job placement is a key priority. To institutionalise this, we will form a TeSA Governing Council comprising key hirers from the industry, and TeSA Sector Committees comprising the main employers from that particular sector. TeSA programmes will also be anchored by major employers in the sector including Singtel, Mediacorp, ST Electronics, Integrated Health Information Systems (IHIS), DBS and UOB. We will announce the composition of the TeSA Governing Council and Sector Committees later this month. 

11. For a start, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) and the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) have jointly launched a one-stop portal comprising TeSA training courses and certifications that fresh graduates and mid-career ICT professionals can sign up for. These courses and certifications are offered by a wide range of training providers including the NUS Institute of System Science, NTUC Learning Hub and Singapore Management University. We will launch the portal with 380 courses and certifications, and add to that progressively. Please visit www.infocommtalent.sg to find out more.

World Class Workforce

12. Third, and most importantly, I am confident in the future because we have world-class workers who work hard, commit themselves to continuous learning, and fly the Singapore flag high. Because while the Government can develop big plans like Smart Nation, or invest in initiatives like TeSA, ultimately these are only useful if you take advantage of these opportunities to do the best you can for yourselves. 

13. I am glad that many young Singaporeans are indeed doing so. For instance, Nanyang Polytechnic was the first tertiary institution to launch the SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme for Software Development in 2015. Three of the 27 NYP students who enrolled in the pioneer programme are your seniors from the graduating class of 2012. They are Ong Jia Ming and Alex Khoo from the Diploma in Business Enterprise IT, and Tay Soon Boon from the Diploma in Information Security. They are presently working at Accenture and I heard from Accenture that they have performed exceptionally well. They were recently promoted to be Software Engineering Associates, and will graduate in September with a Specialist Diploma in Information Systems Development. Jia Ming, Alex and Soon Boon are good examples of what is possible with a good attitude and hard work.


14. These are exciting times indeed. There is reason to be confident. We live in a peaceful country that has bold plans for the future. We have a Government that is committed to maximising every Singaporean’s potential, and creating better opportunities for all. And we have students and professionals that are hardworking, confident and able. By working together, we can create a future that is bright and exciting for all of us. Congratulations once again on your graduation!

Last updated on: 13 Mar 2023