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MOM and IDA to Launch Pilot Phase of Strategic Manpower Conversion Programme in Infocomm Sector

In August 1999, the Manpower 21 (M21) Blueprint was launched with the objective of developing a globally competitive workforce for Singapore in the knowledge-based economy. One of the M21 recommendations was to develop programmes to train and channel Singaporean workers to key growth sectors...

Singapore, 26 April 2000 | For Immediate Release

In August 1999, the Manpower 21 (M21) Blueprint was launched with the objective of developing a globally competitive workforce for Singapore in the knowledge-based economy. One of the M21 recommendations was to develop programmes to train and channel Singaporean workers to key growth sectors in the economy.

The infocomm sector has been identified as a suitable sector to start with. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM), together with the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), is launching a pilot of the Strategic Manpower Conversion Programme (SMCP) in the infocomm sector.

Rationale for the Strategic Manpower Conversion Programme

Today, several high growth sectors face significant manpower shortages. These include both newly emerging sectors such as infocomm and more traditional sectors undergoing rapid transformations such as logistics. To meet these manpower challenges, we must develop our stock of local manpower - preparing our students for employment and upgrading the skills of existing workers in these sectors. At the same time, we should augment our local workforce with an appropriate flow of foreign manpower.

These measures however may not be sufficient to meet the manpower needs in some sectors, especially those facing global manpower shortages. For these sectors, MOM plans to supplement "development" and "augmentation" with "conversion." It plans to launch a series of SMCPs to re-skill existing professionals in relevant fields so as to enable them to make a career switch and take on jobs in selected growth sectors.

For a start, MOM will work with IDA to pilot the programme in the infocomm sector. MOM will extend the programme to other growth sectors if there is a good response from employers and employees. "The SMCP will not only help meet critical manpower shortages in strategic industries but will also help individual Singaporeans take advantage of career opportunities in growth sectors", said Mr Henry Heng, Divisional Director of Manpower Development at the Ministry of Manpower.

The Infocomm Sector

With the growth in e-businesses, there will be a surge in demand for infocomm manpower. According to IDA, demand for infocomm manpower is projected to grow at 10-12 % per annum. By the year 2010, some 250,000 infocomm workers will be needed. This is more than two-and-a-half times the current infocomm manpower of 93,000 being employed across all industries. The challenge to meet the growing demand for infocomm manpower exists not only in Singapore. It is a global phenomenon. For example, there will be some 843,000 unfilled IT positions in the US this year. In India, there is currently a shortage of some 67,000 computer specialists and programmers.

In particular, there is a high demand for infocomm professionals in E-Commerce and Internet Development. Said Dr Kaizad Heerjee, Assistant Chief Executive, Online Development, IDA, "The demand for manpower in E-Commerce and Internet Development topped the list in our 1999 Infocomm Manpower and Skills Survey. Professionals with skills in both IT and business or media are very much sought after in our knowledge-based economy. This initiative will inject into the industry, a pool of infocomm manpower equipped with such hybrid skills. This will certainly help to narrow the infocomm manpower demand-supply gap from a quantity and quality angle."

Source: Information Technology Association of America.
Source: India National Association of Software and Service Companies.

Pilot of Strategic Manpower Conversion Programme in Infocomm Sector

For a start, the pilot of the SMCP in the infocomm sector will target to convert 300 non-infocomm professionals to take on infocomm jobs in areas such as programming, systems analysis, consultancy, networking, database administration, etc. Should there be greater demand, MOM and IDA will increase the numbers for the pilot.

To date, 29 organisations have expressed interest in participating in the SMCP. They are: CPF Board, HDB, IDA, Informatics, MOM, MJM Networks, Silicomp Asia, National Computer Systems, Singapore Computer Systems, Singapore Telecommunications, DBS, UOB, SAP Asia, AsiaOne, Sybase, Tanker Pacific Management, CSE Systems and Engineering, Anderson Consulting, Maris, Allen and Gledhill, Taknet Systems, FACT Software, Finesse Alliance, Global Knowledge, Hewlett Packard, SCO Systems, Sun-Netscape Alliance, Sybase, and Yeo Hiap Seng. Of these 29 organisations, 10 have already committed more than 130 employees to undergo conversion training under the pilot programme.


The SMCP will be an employer-based programme. Under the programme, the following incentives will be given to employers to send their existing staff for conversion or to recruit new staffs who are not infocomm trained and enrol them in conversion courses.

Course Fees Support
MOM will support 50% or $4,000 of the course fee for each trainee, whichever is lower.

Training Allowance
a. For full-time training, MOM will also provide financial support of $40 per day to defray the salaries/allowances paid by employers.
b. There will be no training allowance for part-time training.

Eligibility Criteria

The basic eligibility criteria for participation in the programme are as follows:

a. Must be Singapore registered company or organisation.
b. Must deploy sponsored employees in an infocomm job after the completion of the conversion programme.

a. Singaporean or Singapore Permanent Resident.
b. Does not have a degree or diploma in an infocomm area (eg. degree in Computer Science).
c. Has not received any previous financial support under the SMCP.

a. Training must not have commenced at the time of application.
b. Training can be on either part-time or full-time basis.
c. The training course should not be shorter than three months or longer than 12 months.
d. The training course curriculum must be approved by IDA.

There could also be individuals who are interested in conversion through the programme but have not identified a suitable sponsoring employer or training provider. IDA, together with the Singapore Computer Society and the Information Technology Management Association will play a facilitative role in matching these individuals with suitable employers and training course providers.

Training providers who are interested in offering their courses under the programme should submit their proposed course curriculum to IDA. Companies may also work with course providers to design customised conversion courses.

More Details on Strategic Manpower Conversion Programme

Interested employers, individuals and training providers can obtain more details on the SMCP at (select "Manpower Development" & click on SMCP).

Contact Persons:

Ms Zelia Wong
Manpower Development Division
Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
Tel: 6211 0551

Ms Masnizah Rahim
Manpower Development Division
Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
Tel: 6211 0474