#GetReadySG to boost employment for up to 1000 Singaporeans

Photo by Ryan Mendoza

Microsoft and Generation, a global nonprofit founded by McKinsey & Co, are partnering Digital Industry Singapore (DISG), Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) to upskill, place, and fill demand for tech-enabled jobs for up to 1,000 Singaporeans as part of the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package.

Titled #GetReadySG, the national skills initiative was launched by Guest-of-Honour Mr S Iswaran, Minister for Communications and Information, and Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations, at Microsoft’s 30th anniversary celebrations in Singapore. 

Through #GetReadySG’s unique partnership model, Generation will become the bridge between leading tech company Microsoft – who will guide industry relevant training – and Microsoft’s rich ecosystem of customer and partner companies who need to hire skilled tech manpower.

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The partnership model has the potential to quickly scale to more tech ecosystems by leveraging end-to-end programme managers like Generation to take on an integrated central role of vocational training and job placement services for them.

This will make it easier for other leading companies to participate in similar efforts, ultimately providing opportunities to more jobseekers and offering them greater diversity of hiring company choices across different networks.

Microsoft’s partnership with Singapore

Mr S. Irawan remarked on Microsoft’s initial arrival as a three-person outfit in 1990. “The company and the Singapore office have come a long way since. Microsoft Singapore is now the company’s Asia Headquarters with about 1,200 employees,” he continued.

He also thanked Microsoft’s longstanding partnership and collaboration with Singapore. “Over the years, Microsoft has made significant contributions to the growth of our infocomm and tech (ICT) sector as well as the broader ecosystem,” he elaborated.

Mr S. Irawan also drew parallels between the growth of Microsoft’s operations in Singapore and the broader growth of the country’s ICT sector. “In recent years, the sector has grown exponentially in size and importance,” he explained. “This year, perhaps more than ever, has accentuated the sector’s critical role in supporting social and business continuity in turbulent conditions.

“In the midst of lockdowns and safe distancing requirements, digital technologies have enabled businesses to sustain operations, children to continue their education, and individuals to keep in touch with their loved ones.

This challenging year has also demonstrated the promise of the ICT sector in unlocking new opportunities for individuals and businesses. “While much of the economy has experienced challenges, it has stayed resilient. In the Ministry of Trade and Industry’s most recent economic survey report, the infocomm sector was one of two sectors in the services industry to post positive year-on-year growth in the third quarter of 2020 – the other being finance and insurance.

“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,” he concluded.

Equipping job seekers with relevant skills for the future of work

Targeted at fresh graduates and mid-career Singaporeans, #GetReadySG – which will run over a two year period – aims to equip participants with in-demand tech skills such as Java and Python programming language – all of which are top trending skills identified in LinkedIn’s Economic Graph.

#GetReadySG currently has two programmes, which include:

(i) TechSkills Accelerator’s (TeSA) Company-Led Training, hire and train programme, in partnership with IMDA

Up to 300 Singaporeans who enrol and get selected by Generation and participating employers will:

  • Be offered a salaried employment position to undergo a 9-month training programme
  • Be trained in in-demand job roles such as Full Stack Developer, Data Engineer/Analyst, Cloud Support and DevOps Practitioner
  • Gain industry recognised Microsoft certifications over the course of the training
  • Gain opportunities to work with a selection of Microsoft customer and partner companies on live projects, apply the skills learned and pick up new specific tech skills
  • Get experienced mentorship guidance in relevant fields to help adjust to the work and plan for post-job searching

Registration for #GetReadySG’s TeSA Company-Led Training programme is expected to open in January 2021.

(ii) SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme – Company Training   

Microsoft, together with Generation, SSG and Temasek Polytechnic (TP), will roll-out three new courses under the SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme – Company Training, which will train participants in job roles of Junior Full-Stack Developer, Cloud Support and DevOps, as well as Business Intelligence and Data Analyst.

Participants will undergo a 9-month full-time programme that comprises a blended learning bootcamp, and an opportunity to work in a structured apprenticeship with a Microsoft partner or customer. This will be facilitated by Microsoft and Generation, and supported by Temasek Polytechnic – the first Institute of Higher Learning to come onboard this initiative.

These courses will equip mid-career jobseekers with in-demand tech skills to allow them to pivot to new career opportunities in tech-related roles in growth sectors. The course structures are aligned to pre-defined core learning objectives for specific job roles within companies in Microsoft’s customer and partner network. Trainees will also be given access to Microsoft’s tools and platforms – including content from Microsoft Learn modules and LinkedIn Learning.

At the end of the programme, Microsoft and Generation will assist participants to access job placement opportunities with Microsoft’s customer and partner companies.

Eligible trainees will receive a monthly training allowance of $1,500. Registration will begin in mid-December 2020, and participants can use their SkillsFuture Credit to defray the nett fee payable for the courses.

Besides the SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme, more training programmes with placement opportunities will also be introduced progressively over the next two years. In total, up to 700 mid-career professionals are expected to benefit from these training programmes.

At least 20 of Microsoft’s hiring partners will be onboarded onto #GetReadySG by September 2021. To date, companies within Microsoft’s customer and partner network such as IT solution providers (AsiaPac, Avepoint, NTT Data, NTT Singapore and Taiger Global) as well as companies in service and end-user sectors (Certis, ComfortDelGro and Standard Chartered Bank) have confirmed their participation. These employers will offer training and job placement opportunities for participants.

In addition, LinkedIn, Generation and Microsoft will also work with employers to offer mentorship in the form of emotional support and career coaching as part of #GetReadySG, to help job seekers assimilate into the workplace and navigate challenges. For example, the LinkedIn Coaches programme aims to equip jobseekers facing barriers with soft skills such as interview, networking and communication skills to help participants integrate into their roles through career guidance and mentorship.

Helping employers enhance capabilities and build pipelines

Apart from skills training for individuals, Microsoft will also be partnering SSG as part of the SkillsFuture Queen Bee programme. For this partnership, Microsoft will enhance workplace learning practices among its ecosystem of partners and customers, and help them equip their workforce with critical, industry-relevant skills. With SSG’s support, Microsoft will hire a Skills Manager to engage its network of SME partners to identify common skills gaps and develop customised learning solutions and interventions. The partnership is expected to last over a period of 12 months and benefit at least 30 SMEs.

Mr Kevin Wo, Managing Director, Microsoft Singapore, said: “In our 30 years of operation here, Microsoft has been committed to enabling future-ready skills and talent for the digital economy. We see this as our responsibility as a technology and industry leader, and have adopted it as one of our national aspirations as we look to create economic opportunities and societal impact in the Singapore market.

“COVID-19 has accelerated the need for these upskilling efforts – hence it is more important than ever that we embark on this national skills initiative. What makes #GetReadySG different from other skilling programmes is that it brings together the best of what Microsoft, IMDA, SSG, DISG and Generation have to offer in terms of resources, expertise and technical knowledge. Participants will not only receive all-rounded training for hard and soft skills, but also mentorship and guidance in securing job placements.”

Mr Prateek Hegde, CEO Generation Singapore & COO Generation APAC, 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.

“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. Generation is thrilled to be co-creating an initiative which aims to do just that, working alongside Microsoft and the Singapore government.”