Budget 2016 - Shaping our future together: Supporting our workers

Big push for ICT sector with new hub

The Government is going on the offensive in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector, with a new hub for skills development and job placement - the TechSkills Accelerator.

The accelerator aims to help people acquire new skills and expertise, then find jobs in the growing ICT sector.

The Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) will team up with key IT employers and associations, such as the Singapore Computer Society (SCS), for this initiative.

"To drive our Smart Nation effort, we will need many more of our own experts, in a wide variety of skills - programmers and coders, cyber-security specialists, user experience designers," said Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat yesterday.

The IDA estimates that there will be about 30,000 new positions by 2020, he noted, and the current shortage is driving up pay.

The accelerator will identify specific skills in demand and help meet such "complex demands" in start-ups and sectors like finance and healthcare.

SKILLS PROFICIENCY

The multifaceted part of this accelerator makes sense because it's not just about the training, but also capability.

SCS PRESIDENT HOWIE LAU, on the new initiative

It will also develop skills standards and certification recognised by the industry.

A push will be mounted for hiring and paying based on certified skills proficiency, rather than just academic qualifications, said Mr Heng, who added that several employers, including the new Government Technology Agency, have already agreed to come on board.

He said such efforts would be expanded to more sectors in future.

SCS president Howie Lau is excited about the new initiative because "ICT is embedded across all industries".

He said: "The multifaceted part of this accelerator makes sense because it's not just about the training, but also capability.

"The critical part is making sure we have a strong alignment. If all we do is focus on creating the skills but we don't have a strong link to ensure they are relevant to what the industry is ready and willing to hire, then you're going to have a bit of a mismatch."

Rachael Boon

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 25, 2016, with the headline 'Big push for ICT sector with new hub'. Print Edition | Subscribe