Manpower Minister Josephine Teo (centre) launched the DigiPro Initiative at the SCS Tech3 forum. (Photo: SCS)
By Francis Kan
Ms Josephine Teo, Minister for Manpower, described DigiPro as 'a proactive initiative to be agile and win with technology'.(Photo: SCS)
Workers who feel left behind by the digital revolution can look forward to a new scheme that aims to equip professionals with little or no background in technology with essential digital proficiency skills. The Digital Proficiency Programme (DigiPro) will kick off later this year with short modular courses about cybersecurity, business data and insights, content creation, and personal branding in the digital economy.
Spearheaded by the Singapore Computer Society (SCS), the initiative was officially launched at the Tech3 forum held on 12 July. Tech3 (pronounced “tech cubed”) is an annual event organised by the SCS to advocate for professional and career development of ICT professionals.
The event’s guest of honour, Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister for Manpower, described DigiPro as “a proactive initiative to be agile and win with technology”.
“The short modular courses targeted at busy PMETs help them stay relevant without having to travel physically to learn in a classroom setting. Increasingly, this will be the mode of learning for working adults,” she said.
According to SCS, DigiPro provides high-quality standards and recognition for essential digital knowledge and skills to help the increase the efficiency of PMETs. In addition, it provides a way for PMETs to test their knowledge against a defined benchmark in various digital competencies.
DigiPro also supports IMDA’s TechSkills Acelerator (TeSA) initiative, which aims to develop skilled digital professionals to seize more career opportunities abundant in a digital economy.
Impact of technology on the work force
Speaking on the need for workers to upgrade their digital skills, Mrs Teo said that even if technology reduces the reliance of manpower in some areas, companies that are growing may still have to hire more to fill other jobs.
She cited the example of Amazon, which increased the number of robots used in its operations from 1,400 to 45,000 between 2014 and 2016. However, the number of employees tripled from around 100,000 to about 320,000 over the same period.
“In other words, businesses and jobs will be transformed by technology, potentially creating more meaningful, enjoyable work. New jobs may also be created in growing companies and industries, potentially offering better prospects for workers,” she said.
Mr Robert Yap, YCH Executive Chairman, said that the company is looking at building a 'logistics superhighway'. (Photo: SCS)
“Working people can benefit, provided they are not stuck with old skills in declining businesses and are given a chance to reskill and be redeployed.”
One company that has been constantly working to stay ahead of the technology curve is logistics company YCH Group. In his keynote address at Tech3, YCH Executive Chairman Robert Yap said that companies needed to embrace change to stay relevant.
“We started out as an underdog, but we used technology as a differentiator. We were able to move fast because we had an open and agile mindset. When we saw that there was better tech available, we were prepared to kill our legacy systems and move,” he said.
This philosophy is manifested in YCH’s new S$200 million logistics facility at Jurong Innovation District that was opened last year. Known as Supply Chain City, it features an Automated and Storage Retrieval System (ASRS), inventory-counting drones and advanced robotics. The 50-metre tall ASRS is the largest in the region.
YCH is now looking to build a “logistics superhighway” that integrates physical, information and financial flows, revealed Mr Yap.
“The time is right to do this because of blockchain technology.”