New career guidance programmes launched for ICT professionals

Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say has announced new initiatives to help professionals in the infocommunications technology sector with their careers.
Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say has announced new initiatives to help professionals in the infocommunications technology sector with their careers. PHOTO: TIFFANY GOH FOR THE SUNDAY TIMES

SINGAPORE - Professionals in the infocommunications technology (ICT) sector and those wanting to join it will have more career help with two new programmes launched on Friday (Oct 21).

They are part of efforts to better match people to growing opportunities in the sector, with the number of ICT-related job vacancies across various industries rising by 38 per cent from 2014 to reach 20,000 in 2015.

Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say announced the initiatives at a career event at the Lifelong Learning Institute in Paya Lebar.

As technology advances and more jobs emerge in the ICT sector, it will be increasingly difficult for jobseekers and existing professionals to keep track of where and how to pursue suitable jobs, Mr Lim said. Potential employees may miss out on opportunities.

"The jobs are there, the jobseekers are there, but the two may keep missing each other like two ships passing by each other in the dark," he said.

Even if jobseekers know what ICT jobs they want, they may not have the necessary skills, expertise and experience that employers want - what he called a "mismatch".

To provide better matching, the first new initiative will coordinate support by government agencies, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and the Singapore Computer Society (SCS) through physical career centres, physical and virtual career fairs as well as mentoring.

These TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) Integrated Career Services come under the TeSA initiative announced in this year's Budget.

Under the new programme, jobseekers as well as existing ICT professionals will be able to seek help at Workforce Singapore, the Employment and Employability Institute and NTUC's U PME Centre.

Jobseekers can also find mentors and advice on training and job opportunities through a new programme by SCS called the SCS Career Compass.

In all, the integrated career services aim to benefit at least 1,200 professionals, managers, executives and technicians in a sector that saw about 170,000 ICT professionals working here last year.

More than 100 industry experts have volunteered through SCS to mentor people who are keen to enter or progress in ICT careers and help them keep up with changes in the industry.

The ICT sector is the first to roll out these coaching services as part of the new SkillsFuture Career Advisors Programme - the second new programme launched.