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IBM and IMDA to train apprentices in specialised tech skills such as Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and Data Analytics


IBM and Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) are committed to developing local professionals with specialised tech skills that will help prepare them for the future digital economy. IBM is the newest partner to join IMDA’s Company-Led Training programme under the TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) initiative; and will be rolling out their first ‘New Collar Apprenticeship’ initiative outside of the United States. IBM Singapore will also employ and train non-degree holders for infocomm technology (ICT) jobs within the technology industry, which aims to help Singapore plug the shortage of IT skills in the country.

The latest initiative by IBM will on-board 70 “apprentices” over 2 years from 2018 to 2020, and provide structured training in enabling aspiring tech professionals to acquire specialised tech skills. All apprentices will go through 12 months of on-the-job training in critical emerging tech areas such as application development, artificial intelligence, blockchain, data analytics, robotic process automation (RPA) and SAP – skills that are in high demand in Singapore.

“ICT professionals with advanced tech skills in blockchain, data analytics and artificial intelligence are in strong demand, as digital transformation uplifts industries and businesses at a rapid pace. Through our partnership with IBM, aspiring local tech professionals will have another avenue to develop frontier tech skills, and seize exciting career opportunities in Singapore’s digital economy,” said Chief Executive of IMDA, Tan Kiat How.

Based on IMDA’s survey, enterprises have projected that the demand for infocomm professionals will grow by another 42,300 between 2017 to 2019. An independent survey conducted by Robert Half in January 2018 suggested that Singapore is facing an ongoing skills shortage within the technology sector, with more than 92 percent of CIOs saying it has become more challenging to find qualified IT professionals compared to five years ago.

New collar jobs are roles in some of the technology industry’s fastest growing fields, from cybersecurity and cloud computing to cognitive business and digital design, which places strong emphasis on mastery of skillsets, and not only based on degree qualifications.

“The urgent need for qualified and experienced IT talent is a global phenomenon and one that IBM has been keenly aware of. And it gives us great pleasure to be able to put into practice a core IBM belief, in partnership with IMDA. Those that complete their apprenticeships in IBM will not only be equipped with the necessary skills to pursue a career in the technology field, but they will also have the unique advantage of priceless hands-on experience from one of the largest tech companies of the world,” said Managing Director, IBM Singapore, Abraham Thomas.

To qualify for an apprenticeship under this initiative, applicants must be Singaporean citizens and preferably graduated with a diploma in infocomm, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) or other related disciplines and have less than five years of working experience post-graduation.

Besides the ‘New Collar Apprenticeship’ initiative, IBM also offers programmes in sales and consulting for fresh university graduates as well as degree-holders who are looking to switch industry early in their careers. Both programs target high performers and provide focused training, one-on-one mentoring, career guidance, and practical experience to help provide the expertise and know-how to develop tomorrow’s leaders.

IBM is also proud to offer Pathways in Technology Early College High-Schools (P-TECH) in Singapore. This programme aims to plug new collar skills shortage, aligning with Singapore Government’s call to shift focus from paper qualifications to skills. It was launched in July 2018 in partnership with the Institute of Technical Education (ITE), Nanyang Polytechnic, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Republic Polytechnic, Singapore Polytechnic and Temasek Polytechnic and runs separately from the apprenticeship programme, with focus on supporting students in getting Diploma qualifications.