By Jill Arul
Over the last year and a half, technology has proven to be one of the silver linings in our post-pandemic world. Today, content is regularly consumed on smart televisions, work is naturally discussed over video calls and homework submitted via online portals. Outside our homes, we use our phones and QR codes to pay for items in a more sanitary, contactless manner and use all sorts of apps to engage in services ranging from food delivery to ride-hailing fuss-free.
Unsurprisingly, Singapore continues to keep a keen eye on innovations that promise to take the country’s digital ambitions to the next level. For instance, 5G, with its faster speeds, lower latency and higher reliability, can revolutionise diverse sectors ranging from Industry 4.0 to maritime operations. To ride the 5G wave, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) announced in January 2021 a new S$30 million fund to accelerate the adoption and commercialisation of 5G solutions.
On top of financial support, a thriving digital economy requires the support of a steady pipeline of strong tech talent. As the architect of Singapore’s digital future, IMDA has established several initiatives to ensure Singapore’s pool of digital talent never runs dry. IMDA employees Ms Michelle Chin and Mr Gary Lin work closely with industry partners through the Singapore Digital (SG:D) Scholarship and TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) initiative respectively to nurture the next generation of infocomm media (ICM) professionals and leaders.
Supporting Singapore’s scholars
Fuelled by her passion for developing talent, IMDA manager Ms Chin works with the SG:D Scholarship programme and supports potential scholars through their application process as they start their journey to a ICM career. In her role, Ms Chin engages with scholars through workshops, sharing sessions and bonding sessions to get them familiar with their peers and what they can expect over the next few years in school and at work.
“It’s very satisfying to journey with the applicants and see that they are successful in their scholarship applications at the end of the day,” said Ms Chin. “I’m glad I get to help them gain a foothold in the ICM sector and accelerate their professional development.”
To bridge the gap between scholars and potential opportunities in the working world, Ms Chin works closely with industry partners to secure internships, employment and develops new SG:D initiatives.
“It’s important to support the next generation of local leaders to meet the industry demand and for our talent to remain competitive in the job market.”
Ms Michelle Chin, Manager, Human Capital Development at IMDA
By ensuring a steady stream of talent, the SG:D scholarship extends from polytechnic to postgraduate students—providing Ms Chin with a wide variety of students to engage with. When asked about what she enjoys most about her job, Ms Chin enthused that for her, the best part is the people she gets to meet—from the bright-eyed scholars all the way to enthusiastic industry partners.
“Every step is a learning journey to improve ourselves,” she shared. “Success comes to those who put in the hard work.”
Taking time for a talent update
While it is important to nurture young minds, those already in the workforce should not be forgotten. To ensure that tech professionals are equipped with industry-ready skillsets, Mr Lin works as a senior manager for IMDA’s TeSA initiative, where he partners with industry players to develop programmes to train early and mid-career professionals.
An ex-tech professional himself, Mr Lin had first-hand experience with the fast-paced digital world—reinforcing his belief in the importance of staying relevant. “I joined IMDA by chance,” he recalled. “I started my career as a tech professional and had the opportunity to benefit from such training programmes, so when I saw a job opening related to talent development, I decided to apply.”
With the nationwide rollout in full force, the 5G talent development programme provides training in frontier 5G tech skills to fresh and mid-level professionals. This training takes place through initiatives like TeSA, where individuals can undergo rigorous on-the-job training to gain in-demand skills.
Pre-pandemic, Mr Lin enjoyed travelling and diving, but in the past year he has since channelled his adventurous spirit to adapting to different sectors in his line of work and organising partnerships between various industry players and academic institutions.
“I like being able to make an impact to the employability of local tech professionals. Cultivating talent in emerging technologies will help keep tech professionals relevant and contribute to Singapore’s digital future.”
Mr Gary Lin, Senior Manager, TeSA Programme Office, Human Capital Development at IMDA
Curious about what goes on behind the scenes at IMDA? Stay tuned for more articles on the passionate individuals who are propelling Singapore into a digital future!
Interested in a career at IMDA? Find out more about the opportunities available on our Careers page.