SINGAPORE: Students and graduates of polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) will receive increased support to land tech-related jobs in a fast-growing digital economy, said Minister of State for Communications and Information, Tan Kiat How, Friday, March 4. ).
“We will put in place a structured and end-to-end approach to better support our polytechnic and ITE students, starting with 1,000 places over the next 3 years”, he announced during the debate of the credits committee of his ministry.
A TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) Alliance for ITEs and Polytechnics (TIPs) comprising leading technology companies and major recruiters will be formed by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA).
The latest move comes after some polytechnic and ITE graduates of information and digital technology (IDT) courses said they could not find suitable entry-level positions in their fields of study, said Mr Tan.
Others have encountered employers “who prefer university graduates”, while there are also those who find it difficult to adapt to rapid changes in the sector after a break such as national service or other reasons.
“Structured support and clearly defined scaffolding in their career path can make all the difference,” Tan said.
The alliance will “improve the quality of internship opportunities” for polytechnic and ITE students.
After graduation, students can complete an apprenticeship at participating companies through job placement and training programs. These companies will also put in place “training plans and skills-based pathways for technical roles,” including certifications and specialized training.
Graduates interested in further study will also be supported through work-study programs or degrees in growth areas such as artificial intelligence, cloud and cybersecurity, he added.
Several companies, such as Accenture, IBM, NCS and PSA Corporation, have made “significant commitments” to offer internship, apprenticeship or job placement opportunities, Mr Tan said as he urged more to join to this effort.
More will also be done to strengthen the pool of university graduates in this field, such as the creation of new programs and specializations aimed at meeting emerging technological needs in different sectors.
One example is the new Applied Computer Science degree with a specialization in Financial Technology (FinTech) which will be available at the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) this year.
Lasting three years, the training will be on a work-study basis and the SIT will offer 40 places for its first class. Students will be trained in software engineering, project management, as well as growth areas like machine learning and blockchain, while being equipped with relevant financial knowledge.
This has “received approval” from industry partners, such as AIA Singapore, DBS, JP Morgan and Standard Chartered, IMDA and the Monetary Authority of Singapore said in a joint statement.
There is also a need to upskill and re-skill the country’s existing technological workforce amid rapid technological advancements.
Among other efforts, IMDA will launch the ICT Jobs Transformation Map later this year to help employers and employees in the sector identify high-impact areas, as well as relevant upskilling or retraining opportunities needed, said Mr Tan.