Microsoft to train, create new jobs for 1,000 in Singapore

Multiple partners are involved in a national skills initiative that will see Microsoft and Generation "upskill" and place tech-enabled jobs for up to 1,000 Singaporeans over two years, who will pick up skillsets such as Java and Python.
Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor

A national skills initiative in Singapore will see Microsoft and non-profit organisation, Generation, working with local government agencies to train and create tech-enabled jobs for up to 1,000 local professionals. Spanning over a two-year period, the programme aims to provide fresh graduates and mid-career workers with "in-demand" tech skills such as Java and Python. 

The scheme is part of the government's SGUnited Jobs and Skills package, which was set up to support 100,000 jobseekers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic with job and training opportunities.

Dubbed #GetReadySG, the new initiative involves government agencies Digital Industry Singapore (DISG), Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), and SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG). 

Generation, which is founded by McKinsey & Co, would help manage the programme and serve as the bridge between Microsoft and the software vendor's network of customers and partners looking to fill tech roles. 

One of the two schemes currently offered under the initiative, in partnership with IMDA, is the TechSkills Accelerator's (TeSA) Company-Led Training, which aims to hire and train up to 300 Singaporeans who are selected by Generation and participating employers. 

Successful applicants will be offered salaried employment and undergo a nine-month training programme for job roles that are in demand, such as data engineer or analyst, cloud support, and DevOps. They also will earn Microsoft certifications during the training and have opportunities to work with selected Microsoft customers and partners on live projects. 

Registration for this programme is slated to open next month. 

Another programme targets mid-career professionals who can participate in three courses including the SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme - Company Training, which will train them in job roles comprising cloud support, DevOps, business intelligence, and data analyst. To be rolled out by alongside SSG and Temasek Polytechnic, the mid-career programme will encompass a nine-month full-time stint that includes a bootcamp and opportunities to work within a structured apprenticeship with a Microsoft customer or partner. 

The courses are touted to equip mid-career jobseekers with tech skills that are in demand and enable them to move towards new career opportunities in tech-related roles, in growth sectors. According to the partners, the course structures are aligned to pre-defined learning objectives for specific job positions within companies in Microsoft's ecosystem of customers and partners. 

In addition, trainees will be given access to Microsoft's tools and platforms, including content from the Microsoft Learn modules and LinkedIn learning.

Jobs will be identified as in-demand according to LinkedIn's Economic Graph. 

At the end of the programme, Microsoft and Generation will help participants tap job placement opportunities within the software vendor's customer and partner network.

Participants also will receive a training allowance of SG$1,500 every month and can use Singapore's SkillsFuture credit to offset the fees for the courses. 

Additional training programmes with job placement opportunities will be introduced gradually over the next two years, said the partners, with up to 700 mid-career workers expected to go through the training initiatives.

By September next year, at least 20 hiring partners within Microsoft's network will be roped in for #GetReadySG. Amongst those that already have confirmed their participation are IT vendors such as AsiaPac, NTT Data, and Taiger, as well as end-user enterprise sectors such as Certis, ComfortDelgro, and Standard Chartered Bank. These companies will offer training and job placement opportunities.

Microsoft, Generation, and LinkedIn also will work with employers to offer mentorship, including emotional support and career coaching, to help jobseekers adapt to their workplace and work through challenges. This will include the LinkedIn Coaches programme, which aims to equip jobseekers facing challenges with soft skills such as interview, networking, and communication. 

Microsoft will further partner SSG in the SkillsFuture Queen Bee initiative that seeks to improve learning practices and help employers equip their workforce with industry-relevant skills. Here, Microsoft will hire a skills manager to work with the software vendor's small and midsize business (SMB) partners and identify common skills gaps and build customised learning products. 

This collaboration is expected to span a year and benefit upwards of 30 SMBs.

Singapore's ICT sector had grown in size and importance in recent years and, in particular, this year had highlighted the sector's role in supporting social and business continuity amidst the turbulent environment, said Minister for Communications and Information and Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations, S. Iswaran, at the launch Thursday. 

He noted that the ICT industry had remained resilient in these times and was one of only two in the services industry to post positive year-on-year growth in the third quarter of 2020. The other sector was finance and insurance. 

Iswaran said: "Digital and tech roles continue to be in strong demand, not only within ICT, but also across the rest of the economy as all sectors seek digital solutions. The ICT sector will continue to be an engine of transformation and growth for the wider economy, and generate many exciting opportunities for our companies and workers. For our people to take full advantage of these opportunities and secure good jobs as demand grows, we must equip them with the right skills."

Pointing to the new #GetReadySG initiative, the minister said the partnership brought together the private industry's know-how and expertise with the public sector's networks and resources.

According to Iswaran, since April this year, more than 7,000 jobseekers had been placed in jobs, company-hosted traineeships, and attachments, as well as training places in the ICT sector. As of early-November, he added, there were more than 20,000 available openings in ICT under the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package, of which at least 12,000 were full- time roles. 

Microsoft's Singapore managing director Kevin Wo said COVID-19 had accelerated the need for such upskilling efforts and the new partnership brought together the resources, expertise, and technical knowledge of the five organisations involved.

Generation's Asia-Pacific COO and Singapore CEO Prateek Hegde said: "We continue to hear from companies that it is difficult to find the right tech talent, while jobseekers continue to report on barriers to employment such as lack of specific domain skills and relevant certifications. 

"This programme is designed to effectively bridge this gap and help more Singaporeans who require such support to launch their careers in tech-enabled roles," Hegde said. "While our primary commitment is to serve jobseekers in need, we recognise that the entire tech industry ecosystem can benefit from having access to a highly skilled talent pool."


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