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Efforts to strengthen local core will help tech sector cope with tighter labour rules: Iswaran

THE Singapore government will work with tech companies to develop the sector's Singaporean core, which will help the industry handle the impact of tightened foreign manpower restrictions, said Minister for Communications and Information S Iswaran on Friday.

He noted that the higher minimum salary requirements for foreign professionals are meant to ensure that opportunities continue to be made available to Singaporeans, and that Singaporeans are treated fairly.

"My conversation with tech employers in general is that they are very willing to be partners with us in this effort," Mr Iswaran said. "Their main challenge is finding Singaporeans who have the requisite skills or who are willing to commit to learning the skills that are necessary in order to participate."

To strengthen the pipeline of talent with such skills, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) is working with companies in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector to create job opportunities for Singaporeans and provide training through initiatives such as the TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) and Company-Led Training (CLT) programmes, he said.

"What that enables us to do is to develop that Singaporean core in the tech sector, which is growing and growing fast, in partnership with our leading industry players."

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Mr Iswaran made the remarks on the sidelines of a memorandum of intent signing between IMDA and Sea Limited to set up a CLT programme in Sea's e-commerce arm Shopee.

Under the programme, which will be the largest ever CLT programme by a Singapore-based company, Shopee will hire and train 500 Singaporeans in areas such as product management, software engineering and user experience design. The roles will be split into 400 entry-level positions and 100 mid-career positions for those with more than three years of working experience.

All trainees will undergo six months of on-the-job or instructor-led training, and receive a monthly salary during the training period. After the training is completed, suitable trainees will be employed by Sea's business entities including Shopee and Garena Online.

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