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SGTech does its bit to turn Singapore into a Smart City
ABOUT one in five Singaporeans will have their jobs displaced as artificial intelligence (AI) and digitisation take off in the Asean region, data in a Cisco and Oxford Economics report shows.
And Singapore has the highest mismatch between skills and jobs in the region, which results in a significant skills gap - a major challenge for the information and communications technology sector, the report noted.
So even as the government has developed a TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) to raise the skills level or impart new skills to Singapore's workforce, SGTech, a trade association for the tech industry, has also pitched in to address the issue.
Yeo See Kiat, executive director of SGTech, said that one of the ways is through the Professional Conversion Programme (PCP), which is part of TeSA.
SGTech steps in to connect career switchers with hiring companies. The people who are hired are then put through six months of PCP before starting work.
Mr Yeo said that since its inception in August 2018, the PCP - administered by SGTech - has helped placed 33 employees in 14 organisations, for those taking up new careers in the tech industry.
To ensure that no one is left behind in this digital age, SGTech works not only with government agencies, but also its more than 900 industry members.
SGTech is expanding its skills development programmes designed for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Examples of programmes include TechMatch, which helps SMEs harness technologies.
SGTech is also stepping up its efforts to link SMEs with technology partners to support their digitalisation efforts.
Mr Yeo said: "SMEs are our local torchbearers for innovation. SMEs account for about 55 per cent of SGTech's members. They often face the toughest resource challenges and need the most help in overcoming constraints in knowledge, skills and infrastructure."
He added that SGTech is enhancing its 123 Jumpstart programme so that tech startups can secure more assistance in funding, talent and capabilities development, and network services and support.
"Our Jumpstart Ignite workshops for start-ups focus on imparting skills crucial to a start-up's operations, such as how to create a viable product and to come up with marketing strategies for branding and outreach."
Mr Yeo added: "As many of our members are either technology-solution providers or early adopters, we are in a position to lead them towards greater commitment and responsibility in the drive for digital readiness."
He mentioned FindJobs, a member of SGTech, which developed an app that harnesses technology to ease job hunting by those who are not tech-savvy - such as blue-collar and older workers.
For example, the app removes barriers such as the need for registration and logging in through social media. It also features enlarged text and voiced job descriptions.
SGTech was established in 1982, and was at first called the Singapore Infocomm Technology Federation. Its mission has always been to contribute to the growth and transformation of the tech industry through national-level programmes that drive and grow the Singapore economy.
One of the agency's corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects is its annual Tech4Community, aimed at helping Singaporeans to embrace technology and understand how it can improve their quality of life.
This year's event, held in April in the atrium of the HDB Toa Payoh Hub, drew nearly 15,000 visitors. SGTech rallied more than 200 volunteers from 28 member companies to take part in the event; 10 member organisations contributed with showcases, talks and tutorials on the use of e-payment apps, insights on technology trends and cyber security.
EdTech startup Tueetor, for example, showcased a platform that connects learners with trainers in a range of skills and subject areas, effectively removing the middle man and paving the way to knowledge and skills for people from all levels of society.
Tan Han Sing, founder of Tueetor, said: "Tueetor is big on creating affordable and accessible learning opportunities and creating employment opportunities through teaching.
"Tech4Community has provided us with the platform to reach out to the community, particularly those who are not tech-savvy."
SGTech's Mr Yeo said: "To become a smart nation, technology should be embraced by all - not just government and corporations. If communities are not involved, we will not achieve inclusiveness among the population in the way technology is being used."
He added that a trade association such as SGTech should always be driving a culture of corporate engagement and giving activities.
"Over the years, our engagement in CSR work, be it in employee-driven activities or skills-based volunteerism, has enabled the association to set an example and show members what good and responsible corporate behaviour should be."
- The Company of Good by the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) aims to empower organisations to give back strategically, sustainably and with impact. Find out how your organisation can do good better at www.companyofgood.sg