Govt must do more to nurture local talent for ICT sector: MPs

March 10, 201510:08 am320 views
Govt must do more to nurture local talent for ICT sector: MPs
Govt must do more to nurture local talent for ICT sector: MPs

SINGAPORE — The Government can do more to nurture a sustainable local talent pool in the infocomm industry and help small-and-medium sized enterprises (SMEs) innovate to enhance productivity, urged Members of Parliament (MPs) today (March 9) at the commence of the Communication and Information Ministry’s Committee of Supply debate.

Stressing the importance of building a Singaporean core to support the ministry’s ten-year Infocomm Media Masterplan — aimed at establishing the republic as a Smart Nation that nurtures innovative talent and enterprises — MPs sought details of the ministry’s plans to promote information and communications technology (ICT) as a fulfilling career choice and education specialisation.

Mr Zaqy Mohamad (Chua Chu Kang GRC) noted that continued outsourcing of jobs in the industry have held back development of high-value local talents.

“This led to the industry not being attractive to many young Singaporeans as junior jobs were often taken by cheaper manpower, leaving the sector with a talent gap,” he said.

Ms Jessica Tan (East Coast GRC) called on the ministry to promote greater interest in ICT specialisations among students and women, while Mr David Ong (Jurong GRC) and Mr Zaqy asked for plans to help those already in the industry, especially older ICT professionals, to upgrade and stay relevant.

SMEs should also be given more support to tap on analytics, mobile applications and e-services to understand their customers better and grow revenue share, said Mr Zaqy.

Ms Penny Low (Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC) suggested building a ministry-funded ICT platform to facilitate sharing of information, productivity tools and big data analytics.

Many social enterprises find it challenging to justify the large upfront cost of technology, such as hiring technical expertise to build or maintain systems, yet their “social dividends more than justify the help they need to drive productivity and innovation,” she said.

Mr Zaqy and Mr Low Thia Kiang (Aljunied GRC) also sought the ministry’s plans to strengthen Singapore’s cyber security amid the recent slew of sophisticated cyber-attacks, both local and international. Mr Low also asked for an update on the roles of the Cyber Security Agency that will be launched next month and how it will complement existing security frameworks.

The debate continues tomorrow.


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