SINGAPORE - Singapore will continue to develop the skills of its local workforce and invest to boost the potential of the best in the country while, at the same time, welcome talent from overseas to work alongside Singaporeans in globally competitive teams.
Both are part of a five-prong talent strategy outlined by Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing on Monday (July 29) when he delivered the opening address at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) Scholarship Award Ceremony at the Matrix building in Biopolis.
He said that the first and most important element of the strategy is to "cultivate and grow our Singaporean talent pool".
In today's economy, Singaporeans must be lifelong learners and continuously upgrade their skills and Mr Chan cited the SkillsFuture Training Subsidy as a way the Government is supporting companies and workers with training options and subsidies to stay relevant.
Singapore also invests to stretch the top tier to excel to their potential and the A*Star scholarships are part of the wider national strategy to do so, said Mr Chan.
Singapore will continue to build a strong local talent base in areas such as science and technology, where currently 70 per cent of research scientists and engineers are citizens or permanent residents.
Mr Chan noted that A*Star has contributed significantly to Singapore's efforts in nurturing the country's talent base, having produced around 1,600 Singaporean PhD talent through various scholarship schemes that will or are actively contributing to the research, innovation and enterprise ecosystem here.
But, to compete effectively in the world, teams must be globally competitive, Mr Chan said.
"Singapore must continue to welcome global talent to work alongside Singaporeans in globally competitive teams and advance the frontiers of innovation together," he said.
Citing Hong Kong and France as examples of places that are aggressively attracting companies and talent with marketing campaigns and fast-track visa schemes, Mr Chan said that Singapore needs to do the same.
To encourage strong, dynamic and fast-growing companies to set up and grow in Singapore, "we will need to assure them that they will have access to highly-skilled global talent, both Singaporean and non-Singaporean", he said.
Welcoming highly skilled manpower from other countries, especially those with high-end digital and engineering skills, to complement the local workforce with new and updated skill sets, is crucial to Singapore's longer-term competitiveness, he added.
Another aspect of the talent strategy is to ensure that Singapore remains connected to the world with programmes such as the Global Innovation Alliance (GIA) and the Global Ready Talent Programme (GRTP).
The GIA is a global network allowing Singaporeans and businesses to gain overseas experience, connect, and collaborate with their overseas counterparts. The GRTP provides funding support to companies to send locals for overseas internships and management associate programmes, to gain in-market experience.
Finally, Mr Chan said Singapore should welcome South-east Asians and returning Singaporeans as talent and one way to do this was through online communities.
Technology and talent underpin Singapore's ability to successfully execute strategies to navigate shifts in the global and local environments, said Mr Chan.
"As A*Star scholars, you are at the centre of both," he told the audience which included close to 100 of this year's scholarship recipients.