Committee charting Singapore's economic future to grapple with challenges in jobs and skills

Acting Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung is part of the 30-member Committee on the Future Economy.
Acting Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung is part of the 30-member Committee on the Future Economy. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The recently announced committee tasked with charting the course of Singapore's economic future will grapple with hard issues such as how technological and demographic changes will affect jobs and skills, said Acting Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung.

Mr Ong, who oversees higher education and skills training and is part of the 30-member Committee on the Future Economy, said on Wednesday (Dec 30) that developing skilled talent will continue to be a major part of Singapore's economic strategy.

A key focus of the committee, led by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, is to look into the jobs and skills for the future, he said, and it will do this by tapping the views of a range of people from the private and public sectors.

He added that it hopes to gather opinions from people with varied industry experiences - from executives and entrepreneurs, to those who have spent their lives in one industry, to others who have switched professions.

 

He was speaking at the launch of a book that features the stories of 50 applied and technical graduates in Singapore, such as footballer Fandi Ahmad and former chief executive of Wildlife Reserves Singapore Fanny Lai.

The book, A Nation Of Skilled Talents, is a ground-up initiative by Agency for Science, Technology and Research scientist Jonathan Loh and Mr Chadi A. EL Farran, a graduate student at the National University of Singapore.

Mr Ong said that the book ,which received funding from the SG50 grant, highlights the importance of skills-based education and training.

"If you are smart, clever and hardworking you are a talent, but not a skilled talent," he said. "But to be a skilled talent you need to discover and work on your area of expertise."