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Speech at Opening of General Assembly's New Office

Mr Zaqy Mohamad, Minister of State, Ministry of National Development, Ministry of Manpower, General Assembly

Mr Alain Dehaze, Chief Executive Officer, Adecco Group
Mr Jake Schwartz, Chief Executive Officer, General Assembly

Ladies and Gentlemen

  1. Good evening. Thank you for inviting me to join you for the opening of your new office. Having gone through the tour, I believe the General Assembly Training Suites will make conducive learning environments for your trainees.
  2. Demand for ICT professionals

  3. There are good opportunities for ICT professionals across the economy.
    • Demand for ICT professionals has been rising steadily (based on IMDA’s Annual Survey on Infocomm Media Manpower for 2018)
      • Total demand for ICT professionals grew by 2.2% from 2016 to 2017, to reach 202,600 in 2017.
      • Enterprises have projected the demand for ICT professionals to grow by another 28,500 in the next three years (2018-2020).
  4. As we continue our shift to a digital economy, businesses have to respond nimbly to seize new opportunities and stay ahead of the curve. Jobs will be transformed or created and these jobs will require new or deeper skills and knowledge, in areas such as user experience design and data analytics. There is a shortage of some of these skills today, and we can expect this skill gap to widen. This means that businesses who only depend on hiring ready talent will find themselves facing a very tight labour market.
  5. To stay competitive and indeed leapfrog their competitors through business transformation, businesses will need to become more sophisticated at developing talent. This means becoming better at upskilling their workers so as to preserve their company culture and industry knowledge, and identifying new hires who may not have the complete skillset required, but can be trained to do the job.
  6. In this regard, General Assembly is well positioned to help to build a pipeline of skilled workers who can take on jobs created for the sector.
  7. I am happy to note that this is something that General Assembly has been collaborating with the government on. For instance, General Assembly has played an active role in ensuring the success of IMDA’s Tech Immersion and Placement Programme (TIPP).
  8. This is a programme that converts individuals from non-ICT background into tech professionals through immersive tech training, and subsequently placing them into relevant tech roles. The TIPP helps Singaporeans to adapt and seize new career opportunities in tech, and at the same time helps companies to fill these critical jobs in a tight market.
  9. Since 2016, over 600 locals have completed training under TIPP and the majority have found jobs in roles such as data science, data analytics, user experience design and software development.
  10. One example is Mr Arif Rahman who was enrolled in General Assembly’s 12-week web development course. Prior to taking the course, Mr Rahman worked part-time as a private hire car driver. After finding out from a passenger that a friend had managed to enter the GA programme with just an O-level certificate and landed a job as a developer after graduating, Mr Rahman received a subsidy from TIPP and enrolled himself in the course. Mr Rahman has since graduated and is now working as a front-end developer at a Singapore-based start-up. 
  11. Another example is Ms Angela Chan who enrolled into General Assembly’s 10-week User Experience & Design course. Ms Chan graduated with a degree in Visual Communication Design and worked as a project manager before joining GA’s programme. Through GA’s immersive training programme, Ms Chan was able to acquire new skills in user experience and design. Last year, Ms Chan graduated from the course successfully and she is now a UX Strategist in one of Singapore’s leading companies in gaming products.
  12. The TIPP is an excellent programme and I look forward to other collaborations between General Assembly and the government.
  13. The government will walk with companies and workers in their tech journey. Through the TechSkills Accelerator (or TeSA in short), 61,000 training places have been taken up or committed since April 2016. We will continue to support workers to be upskilled and reskilled to be placed into in-demand ICM jobs through TeSA.
  14. Employment support is also available under the Adapt and Grow initiative to facilitate the career mobility of our workers. Through this initiative, we have placed more than 1,900 locals into new jobs in the ICT and media sector in 2018.
  15. With the support of Government and employers who are willing to invest in training to upskill workers and new hires, we can give everyone the opportunity to move into better jobs and careers as our economy continues to transform.
  16. Conclusion

  17. General Assembly has been training and re-skilling Singaporeans to enter the digital workforce in the last few years. I am heartened that General Assembly has established a strong presence in Singapore and even stronger collaborations with Government. I believe we are in a good position to take advantage of technological advances.
  18. Once again, congratulations on the opening of your new office.