6 August 2019

Singaporeans to get more SkillsFuture support

Source: SkillsFuture Singapore. Minister Puthucheary watches on as Ng (left) and Kevin Wo, Country GM, Microsoft Singapore (right) sign the MoU.
Source: SkillsFuture Singapore. Minister Puthucheary watches on as Ng (left) and Kevin Wo, Country GM, Microsoft Singapore (right) sign the MoU.

SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) has introduced new measures to better prepare Singaporeans and enterprises for the digital economy. SSG and Microsoft have entered into a new partnership, and the national SkillsFuture for Digital Workplace programme has been enhanced.

Both developments were announced by Singapore Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Communications and Information, Dr Janil Puthucheary at the inaugural SkillsFuture Festival X Smart Nation (SFFXSmart Nation).

In a speech at the event Minister Puthucheary said the idea of a digitally ready society needs to be refreshed for 2019 and going forward, with a digitally confident society being the outcome.

"The difference for Smart Nation and our digital transformation is that the pace and extent of
change is much faster. Jobs will go, but jobs will be recreated. Business opportunities will go,
but new ones will be created. There are many things that we need to do in order to get ourselves ready for these challenges," he said.

"One of the key things is going to be the skills that we can develop in ourselves, in government,
in society and in business. Skills, for the challenges and opportunities that are being created
today, and an approach to skills development so that we are ready for the future, both for the next wave of disruption and digital transformation."

Co-organised by SSG, and the Smart Nation and Digital Government Office, the event is part of the six-week SkillsFuture Festival, and was held from 3 to 4 August.

SSG and Microsoft launched the Tech Intensity Training Roadmap, a three-year plan to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) accelerate their adoption of technology, and to help individuals build their digital capabilities. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by both parties for the collaboration, which aims to benefit 5,000 individuals and 100 SMEs.

As part of the collaboration Microsoft will work with the institutes of higher learning (IHLs) to develop industry-relevant curriculum for relevant SkillsFuture programmes, such as the SkillsFuture Work-Study programmes. This will help build a talent pipeline for jobs of the future, and cater to
the needs of the wider industry.

Microsoft will also work with SSG to enhance workplace learning practices among Microsoft’s network of SME partners. Microsoft and SSG will codevelop a training blueprint which will help SMEs build a strong workplace learning culture to accelerate technology and skills adoption for workplace transformation, and enhance employee engagement and retention.

Third, Microsoft will provide a curated list of free online Microsoft courses on SSG’s MySkillsFuture portal on topics such as data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI). Participants will receive Microsoft certification when they successfully complete selected programmes. SSG will also incorporate the materials provided by Microsoft on cyberSecurity, the Internet of Things (IoT) and AI into the curriculum for the SkillsFuture for Digital Workplace programme.

Lastly, Microsoft’s PowerApps Platform will be incorporated into SkillsFuture initiatives, including the SkillsFuture for Digital Workplace. This enables Singaporeans to learn how to build and customise business applications according to their business needs.

Minister Puthucheary also stated in his speech that an ecosystem of players is required to ready Singaporeans for the opportunities of tomorrow.

"The engagement with a company like Microsoft is about that company, but it is also about that company's partners. A large company has vendors and suppliers that has business ideas, business partners, and it will do more going forward. Microsoft is committed to a very important partnership in association with SSG," he said.

It will be a win-win, he added. "We also hope that through this process, we will have the opportunity to work with Microsoft as an intermediary, looking at workplace learning practices within its organisation, as well as with its partner SMEs, tapping on its network of companies, and allowing government and SSG to reach out to many more companies in their digitalisation efforts."

In support of the sixth pillar of Total Defence – Digital Defence, SSG has enhanced the SkillsFuture for Digital Workplace programme to add a Digital Defence component. Supported by the National Library Board, Nexus and the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore, the enhanced curriculum will enable participants to be better informed about cybersecurity, and to pick up skills to identify and guard themselves against fake news.

Ng Cher Pong, Chief Executive of SSG 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. The collaboration with key industry stakeholders, such as Microsoft, is significant in building digital competencies. SSG will continue to expand our network of intermediaries in Singapore’s skills ecosystem.”