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The employer’s guide to unearthing ICT talent in Singapore

This article is brought to you by Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA).

With IMDA predicting a projected demand of over 28,500 infocomm professionals from 2018 to 2020, let’s find out how the TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) presents a range of opportunities for employers like Aviva to address this demand.

Back in 2017, Anuradha Purbey, Aviva’s People Director, South East Asia, and her leadership team were seeking ways to future-proof Aviva’s employees.

The team started out by prioritising the development of key change-enabling competencies that the business needed most, and identified one key technology ― cloud ― as a core pillar of its strategy. Purbey adds: “Cultivating digital ― specifically cloud-ready talent was made our top priority.”

With the inevitable transformation brought about by digitalisation, they knew they would need a programme that would not only enable employees to take on higher-value work, but also find greater meaning in their roles. This, in turn, would help employees thrive in the digital age, and allow the company to retain its talent and strengthen its internal capability.

This vision was strengthened by the fact that skills training has become more than a buzzword ― a 2018 survey, commissioned by Weber Shandwick in partnership with KRC Research, revealed job skills/training as amongst the top three issues employees in both non-tech sectors (70%) and tech sectors (80%) would want their CEOs to address.

Through multiple conversations on the various initiatives available, the team decided the most relevant choice would be the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA)’s TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) initiative.

Developing a future-ready ICT workforce

TeSA is a tripartite initiative by the government, industry and the National Trades Union Congress, to develop a skilled ICT workforce for Singapore, and to enhance employability for individuals.

Launched in 2016 and driven by IMDA, TeSA comprises three priority thrusts. First, there is the Skills Framework for ICT which can be used by hirers to develop career maps and articulate job requirements.

The second is a broad-based as well as targeted approach to skills acquisition and validation, with programmes such as Company-Led Training (CLT) and Tech Immersion and Placement Programme (TIPP).

The third is a holistic career support ecosystem inclusive of job matching, group mentoring and leadership programmes, aimed at enhancing the chances of employability of individuals.

As such, Aviva opted for a targeted approach that gave them the confidence to meet the challenges brought on by digitalisation through a 12-month, structured CLT programme to develop new cloud capabilities.

Eligible Aviva employees went through a combination of on-the-job training, job rotations, as well as in-depth training, conducted both internally and externally. Purbey adds: “Striking a balance between actual work and learning can be tricky. The CLT programme enables Aviva to adopt a co-learning model to build cloud capabilities.

"For example, it frees up our current employees' capacity by recruiting new hires fresh from academia. In turn, new hires are paired to a mentor which facilitates mutual exchange of ideas."

Purbey knew she had made the right decision in upskilling her workforce. She explains: “After undergoing the programme, our employees are equipped with technical cloud expertise to drive our organisational strategy and growth. We also observed cross-generational learning taking place between our current employees and new hires.”

Enterprise Architect Lee Ann, an employee who has undergone the programme, affirms the training has also brought her new insights in two key areas. "Firstly, network and infrastructure, where it no longer means the hard wiring and data centres, but instead can be switched on or off easily as a service (Infrastructure as a Service, or IaaS).

"Secondly, automated deployment, whereby with better means of automating IT operational tasks, we have to consider up-front what the end-users want, how IT security controls can be embedded and automated, shortening deployment processes to roll out new functionalities to customers more quickly."

Aviva has partnered with IMDA under TeSA’s CLT programme to train 60 employees in cloud capabilities over the next three years. With the company having embarked on its second cohort, this will bring the number of employees trained to close to 40.

Since TeSA’s launch, more than 81,000 training places have been taken up or committed.

Offering a selection of opportunities  

Apart from the CLT, employers can also benefit from the TIPP programme, which aims to convert non-ICT professionals into industry-ready ICT professionals through intensive, immersive courses. Interested employers can also become a TIPP partner and take in trainees at their company.

Employers can also upskill their existing workforce with the Critical Infocomm Technology Resource Programme Plus (CITREP+), which focuses on building specialised ICT skillsets through courses and certifications in areas such as cybersecurity, blockchain, digital leadership, and more.

Keeping pace with changing times

With such options available, organisations such as Aviva can tap on a wide range of programmes that fit their needs. At the same time, individuals are also given the opportunity to upskill and reskill to be ready for Industry 4.0.

In fact, as shared by Singapore’s Minister for Communications and Information S Iswaran in a speech earlier this year: "Companies have a key role to play in developing talent that not only adds value to their organisation but also uplifts the larger ICT community."

Thus, through TeSA, employers either looking to get support in developing their employees’ tech skills, or to keep up with ICT talent development would be able to seize the exciting opportunities ahead.

Purbey concludes: "I believe that growth begets growth. It not only accelerates our digital progress as an industry but deepening digital capabilities across the board also enhances the sector’s appeal, attracting even more promising digital talents."

For more information on TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) and its programmes (and how it can add value to your organisation), visit www.imtalent.sg/TeSA.

Photo / provided

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