Singaporeans can now learn and receive certification from Microsoft as part of a new collaboration between the tech giant and the SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) scheme.
They can also learn from a new digital defence component under the SkillsFuture for Digital Workplace programme, which covers cyber security and teaches participants how to identify and guard against fake news.
These new initiatives, which are aimed at helping Singaporeans and enterprises be better prepared for the digital economy, were announced yesterday by Dr Janil Puthucheary, Senior Minister of State for Transport as well as Communications and Information.
Dr Janil told the inaugural SkillsFuture Festival X Smart Nation event that the transformation to a Smart Nation had to be done in a way that includes every Singaporean.
He said: "(This) requires us to take this extra series of steps and not just leave it to the market, leave it to time and leave it to hope that everything will be all right. "
SSG and Microsoft signed a memorandum of understanding at the event and launched the Tech Intensity Training Roadmap.
The three-year plan will help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) accelerate their adoption of technology and assist individuals to build up their digital capabilities.
The collaboration, which aims to benefit 5,000 individuals and 100 SMEs, has several main components.
Microsoft will work with institutes of higher learning to develop industry-relevant curriculum for related SkillsFuture programmes, such as the Work-Study schemes. This will help build a talent pipeline for jobs of the future and cater to the needs of the wider industry.
The company will also work with SSG to co-develop a training blueprint to help SMEs build a strong workplace learning culture. This is aimed at accelerating technology and skills adoption while enhancing employee engagement and retention.
Microsoft will provide free online courses on SSG's MySkillsFuture portal, covering topics such as data analytics and artificial intelligence.
Participants who complete selected programmes will receive certification from Microsoft.
SSG will also incorporate the Microsoft material on subjects such as cyber security, the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence into the curriculum for its SkillsFuture for Digital Workplace programme.
In addition, Microsoft's PowerApps Platform will be incorporated into SkillsFuture initiatives, including the SkillsFuture for Digital Workplace. This will enable Singaporeans to learn how to build and customise business applications according to their needs.
Microsoft Singapore managing director Kevin Wo said: "In a world where every company is going digital, organisations of all sizes need to embrace tech intensity to thrive and maximise their impact."
The SkillsFuture for Digital Workplace curriculum will be further enhanced with a new digital defence component.
The enhanced curriculum - supported by the National Library Board, Nexus and the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore - aims to train participants to identify and guard against fake news and be better informed about cyber security.
SSG chief executive Ng Cher Pong said: "It is critical for our workforce and companies to be adequately equipped with the skills to seize the new opportunities brought about by digital transformation."