Speaking at IBM's premises in Changi Business Park on Tuesday, Education Minister Lawrence Wong shared that about 18,000 of the 30,000 places have been created to date by employers like IBM, training providers and institutes of higher learning. The government has also observed a positive reponse to the training spots on offer, with almost 15,000 people expressing interest so far.
"So long as our mid-career (professionals) have the right mindset to want to continue to reskill and upskill, we will do our part to provide you with the support necessary to get the relevant training and be in a good position to get a job when the economy recovers," said Wong.
To take the endeavor of skilling more and more professionals in the skills in demand, IBM, as part of a larger government effort by SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), plans to train about 800 mid-career professionals over the next year in artificial intelligence and cyber security under a new programme launched on Monday (September 21, 2020).
Wong said, "We are looking at skills that will be in demand and in areas of future growth, and IT is naturally one of these areas. IT itself is not a vertical sector but a skill set that can be applied in many sectors... and a programme like this will potentially allow the graduates to be employable across many fields."
Creating more AI & cybersecurity professionals
IBM's programme, called i.am-vitalize, offers two full-time training courses in AI and cyber security that will run over six months. Trainees for both courses will complete a set of introductory modules over the first 2½ months, before branching out into specialised tracks. The first five online classes, comprising about 13 or 14 trainees to two instructors, started on Monday. The course costs $500 with SSG subsidies, and trainees also receive a $1,500 monthly allowance. Enrolment is open until March next year, and those interested can sign up at this website.
About 400 mid-career professionals have already signed up. More than 200 have even been accepted and are due to begin classes in batches over the next few months. However, it is not applicable for everyone, the applicants have to be Singaporeans or permanent residents, and possess basic IT literacy such as being familiar with Web browsers and using a mouse and keyboard.
After completing the program, AI designers, blockchain developers and data engineers are among the roles that trainees can transition into.
To ensure more effective outcomes from the program IBM has also linked up with industry partners such as Standard Chartered Bank and blockchain firm Tribe Accelerator to facilitate job placement opportunities and give feedback on what employers want. Even IBM itself will employ some of the graduates from these courses shared IBM Singapore MD, Martin Chee.
Many recent reports and several leaders People Matters has interviewed across the globe have highlighted AI and cybersecurity as two of the most in demand skill sets. And as the use of digital accelerates at a much faster pace in the COVID era and beyond, the need for these skills are only likely to rise. It will only benefit the companies and the economies at large if they spend the time, effort, and money in helping the talent build these neccesary skills and make them more employable.