In his opening speech at Tech in Asia’s 11th annual conference, Dr. Janil Puthucheary, Senior Minister of State Ministry of Information & Communications, talked about why tech talent and innovation Innovation is vital to Singapore’s digital economy.
First, he noted that rapid changes are now occurring in the wake of the pandemic, including deepening geopolitical tensions, new economic disruptions, and shifting job trends.
Focusing on the theme of ‘built to last’, Dr Janil questioned what it really takes for Singapore to remain relevant in the ever-changing climate, and went on to cite some fundamental background. about adaptability will be crucial for us to thrive in the digital future.
“It starts with a secure, resilient, seamlessly connected, and interoperable digital infrastructure as a fundamental expectation. It is an important role for the state to make sure that this happens,” emphasized Dr. Janil.
He also pointed out that the government must ensure that Singapore’s business rules are “professional business” – that we lay the foundation for a vibrant digital economy that is interdependent within and across borders. our border.
However, this will not happen unless Singapore has a highly skilled workforce equipped with industry-relevant skills for future jobs, as well as competitive businesses that can innovating and seizing new opportunities are encouraged to do so, rather than locking the status quo.
With these factors in mind, Singapore will not only become resilient and adaptive to the changes happening around us, but also have the potential to become a force of change with lasting impact.
Continue to invest in digital infrastructure
“In Singapore, we will continue to invest early in digital infrastructure, ensuring that our people and companies are well positioned to benefit early – from any sudden change. Breaking, digitizing and using technology to transform our lives and economy,” shared Dr. Janil.
First, they invested in 5G networks early. In fact, local telcos are on track to achieve nationwide coverage by 2025 through independent networks, rather than just relying on existing legacy infrastructure.
Governments and their partners have been working to develop use cases across multiple sectors that take advantage of 5G’s high speeds and low latency, creating new opportunities due to early investments in the infrastructure. Infrastructure.
Similarly, Singapore will continue to invest in its broadband infrastructure and intends to deliver 10 times faster current access speeds.
“The latest technology is very helpful in sprinting ahead of the competition, [but] it is irrelevant if it is not trusted. As we invest in our digital infrastructure to grow that digital economy, we have to make sure that infrastructure is secure and resilient,” he said.
“Rather than treating security and resilience as costs, we… encourage people to think of them as drivers of the digital economy. A resilient and secure digital infrastructure that will allow us to interact with each other – with competitors, collaborators, partners – with greater confidence and trust. And this greater resiliency and security will allow us to go faster and further.”
He went on to cite examples of how more and more businesses are taking advantage of cloud platforms. The cost, technical, and commodity value proposition is clear, but the cybersecurity of the cloud is becoming more and more important.
“We tried to provide clarity on the security levels of different cloud service providers by introducing a multi-tiered cloud security standard from the government to make it available to businesses. a framework that ensures that their data and systems stored in the cloud are fully protected, within a framework that can be easily explained and compatible with other sets of governance frameworks. “
Meeting the demand for technology talent
There is indeed a lot that Singapore can do in terms of infrastructure and building systems that strengthen trust and resilience.
While we use advanced technology, Singapore must also continuously invest in its people.
“As Singapore’s digital economy grows, so does the need for tech talent. Dr Janil said: “Digitalisation has created many attractive job opportunities for fresh graduates and intermediate workers.
“We need to continue to provide training and learning opportunities to prepare for the next wave of talent to ensure that there are people capable of seizing the opportunities we create and energizing them. for companies to take advantage of these opportunities.”
As a result, the government has worked with industry partners to train Singaporeans to take on emerging roles in the technology sector.
One of its flagship programs is called TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA), designed to meet the immediate needs of industries. Since 2016, it has placed and directly trained more than 12,000 individuals into “good tech jobs,” and trained another 160,000 people who are working on the next wave of tech skills.
It also manages programs for a variety of groups, from different backgrounds and educational levels.
In fact, a new TeSA program has been launched for ITE (Institute of Technical Education) and polytechnic graduates. This new program brings together companies with training providers, ITEs and polytechnics, through internships, apprenticeships and work-study programs.
Over the next three years, ITE and polytechnic students and graduates will benefit from more than 1,000 job opportunities created by companies in this partnership.
“We hope and welcome more companies to join us in this effort to grow our local tech talent pool, curating these opportunities for students – helping them grow skills and market insights at the very beginning of their careers and expose them to the best opportunities,” said Dr. Janil.
While he acknowledged that they will “move around” and look for opportunities in the tech space, creating this push in the first place will help Singapore build its tech talent pool in the region. term.
Local companies have a role to play in driving technological innovation
Dr. Janil points out that local businesses play an important role in driving innovation in Singapore. As a result, the government will continue to support local tech companies to grow not only within Singapore but beyond.
One example is Pulsifi, a Singapore-based HR technology company, founded in 2016. It’s a human data platform that accurately predicts candidate performance and potential. work in line with working style values, helping to reduce up to 70% of manpower. hours required for talent acquisition and data management.
Pulsifi has benefited from one of the government’s corporate development grants and has won numerous awards. Most recently, it has managed to secure a global contract with the Nestlé Group.
Besides the grants, the government also supports promoting the growth of promising technology companies based in Singapore through programs such as IMDA Accreditation@SG, in which the companies are essentially recognized as a solution provider.
One example is Hubble, which has harnessed inspection networks to become one of the solution providers for the local construction sector. It managed to raise S$11 million in January 2022 during their Series B funding and has since expanded their headcount in Singapore.
“We encourage young startups with innovative solutions to use the approaches we have – funding, accreditation programs – to find your first reference customers and we I welcome technology-evolving SMEs to continue to grow their businesses through these programs.”
A vibrant tech ecosystem is key for these ideas to find their way out into the world. This is where another IMDA program called SPARK, which supports Singapore-based startups, comes in.
It connects growing companies with community partners – including global consulting firms, law firms, integrated media firms, product design firms and giant technology companies. Meta and Google – providing expertise to grow our talent and technology ecosystem to support community use cases.
Concluding his speech, Dr. Janil highlighted the three fundamental principles on which Singapore is focusing for its digital economy – investment in digital infrastructure, especially in the public sector. new and developing technology; invest in people, especially in developing local talent; and invest in the growth and development of a vibrant tech community through partnership programs.
“These efforts will lay the foundation for Singapore to become a leading technology and innovation hub. Aspects of our work that will last long are the communities we build, the talented people we bring with us on our journey, and the partnerships we create – the ones we make. this will lead to excellence and innovation in the future,” he sums up.
Featured image credit: Screenshot of TIA 2022 Conference