Debate on ministries’ budgets: Communications and Information

Parliament: Chan Chun Sing details bid to build global-ready local talent

MTI minister: Over 50% of firms find it hard to internationalise due to lack of right talent

Steps are under way to improve the supply of local talent with the kind of market knowledge that can help firms expand and flourish abroad.

One initiative introduced this year is the Global Ready Talent Programme, which helps students at institutes of higher learning to secure internships with Singapore companies overseas.

Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing provided more information on the scheme yesterday. He told Parliament that "more than 50 per cent of Singapore enterprises find it difficult to internationalise because they lack the right talent for their overseas operations".

In addition to overseas internships, the programme has a management associate programme for young professionals.

"We will focus on markets in South-east Asia, China and India," said Mr Chan, in reply to a question from Mr Henry Kwek (Nee Soon GRC).

"Singapore enterprises can receive up to 70 per cent funding support for the allowance or salary of participants," said Mr Chan.

He said Enterprise Singapore will work with trade associations and chambers, as well as institutes of higher learning, to facilitate internship placements.

"We will also continue to promote the exchange of ideas and talent with innovation hubs around the world," he said, referring to the Global Innovation Alliance (GIA).

The GIA, announced in the 2017 Budget, is a network to promote entrepreneurship and innovation with a focus on technology.

"Last year, on top of launching GIA in Bangkok, we also... (established) GIA activities in France, Japan and Germany. We will continue to expand the network in 2019," said Mr Chan, who was speaking during the debate on the Trade and Industry Ministry's budget.

 
 
 

Nominated MP Douglas Foo asked how the Government is helping firms seize opportunities in Asean, given the better infrastructure links generated by China's Belt and Road Initiative.

Mr Chan noted that the new land-sea corridor that aims to facilitate trade between South-east Asia and western China through Singapore will cut the time needed to transport goods between both regions from three weeks to one, and help lower business costs.

"Asean... presents huge opportunities for Singapore companies," he said. "We will continue to facilitate our companies' foray overseas through our network of overseas centres, which supported over 100 projects in Asean last year."

The Government has also set up a "plug and play network" to help firms with their initial move overseas. This comprises 16 partners in nine markets, including six in Asean, with Myanmar joining this year.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 05, 2019, with the headline 'Chan details bid to build global-ready local talent'. Print Edition | Subscribe