Digital skills programme helps mid-career jobseekers find work before completing course

Ms Wong Ee Jin, who landed a full-time role as retail strategy director a few months into the Rise programme, speaking to Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam about her learning experience.
Ms Wong Ee Jin, who landed a full-time role as retail strategy director a few months into the Rise programme, speaking to Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam about her learning experience.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - A six-month intensive course to train mid-career jobseekers in digital skills was so successful, about 10 per cent of the 1,300 trainees found work before completing the course.

Global management consulting firm Boston Consulting Group (BCG), which runs the programme, said on Friday (June 25) that around 1,500 participants should complete the course by the end of this year.

The Rapid and Immersive Skill Enhancement (Rise) programme is part of the company training segment of the SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways initiative.

The Government had rolled out the initiative last year in response to Covid-19's impact on the economy and jobs.

The Rise programme aims to help participants upskill and get a digital-related job even if they do not have prior related experience.

Participants can learn digital essential skills and fundamentals of technology such as artificial intelligence and human-centred design.

BCG managing director and partner Aparna Bharadwaj said many of the trainees come from the financial services sector.

There are also some from sectors such as infocomm technology, wholesale and retail trade, as well as travel and tourism.

She said that there are many roles available in areas such as digital sales and marketing, data science and operations. Trainees with no related digital experience do not necessarily have to take up entry-level roles, she added.

"They have significant work experience behind them. Employers recognise that and value that."

Ms Wong Ee Jin, 35, landed a full-time role as retail strategy director at retail tech company Omnilytics a few months into the Rise programme.

She was previously in a business development role in a European luxury company.

Ms Wong, who was retrenched in October last year, said: "Previously, I had tangible products to sell. Now in a software company, I sell solutions, which is intangible. The approach is different.

"I have to spend time understanding key issues or problems that the clients are facing, and explain solutions to address them."

She added: "The knowledge from Rise, including the structured frameworks, industry exposure and knowledge on digital technologies such as Industry 4.0, was instrumental in helping me secure the job offer."

As part of the programme, trainees get to take part in a digital hackathon where they apply their skills to real-life company problems, and later, propose full-fledged digital solutions to organisations.

During the programme, they also set career goals, build confidence for interviews and boost applications through career fair and job matching.

Participants can also engage with companies through industry master classes and networking, before they secure a job placement.

On Friday, BCG held a career fair, in a hybrid format, as part of the Rise programme. More than 25 companies including Shopee, JP Morgan and UOB participated, with about 200 job opportunities available.

Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam visited BCG's office at Raffles Place, where he spoke to participating companies and prospective graduates from the programme.

Mr Elijah Yong, head of learning and development at Shopee, said his company feels strongly about the upskilling and development of local talent to ensure they succeed in the rapidly growing digital economy.

"We believe the key skills to succeed in this ever-changing e-commerce landscape are a strong understanding of the business, active listening and adaptability."

BCG Singapore chairman Jeffrey Chua said the Rise curriculum was designed and curated to meet real market needs.

SkillsFuture Singapore chief executive Ong Tze Chin said: "We strongly encourage mid-career jobseekers to tap such avenues of Government support, to reskill and upskill themselves for more career opportunities and growth."