Singapore moves to solve ICT talent crunch
By Benjamin Cher October 14, 2015
- IDA and General Assembly partner on ‘career accelerator’
- Programmes aimed at both young and mid-career professionals
THE Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) and New York-headquartered education startup General Assembly (GA) have announced a partnership to offer what they describe as a “career accelerator” into the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry.
Under the partnership, GA will offer two full-time courses in Singapore: Web Development Immersive (WDI) and User Experience Design Immersive (UXDI), whose durations are 12 weeks and 10 weeks, respectively.
GA, which says its vision is to empower individuals to pursue the work they love in technology, business and design, recently raised US$70 million in Series D funding led by media company Advance Publications.
“With the support of the IDA, which shares our goal of making education more accessible, our programmes will provide even more students with the opportunity to start and advance their careers” GA cofounder and chief executive officer Jake Schwartz said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the IDA hopes that this tie-up will address doubts around such programmes, said its executive deputy chairman Steve Leonard.
“The doubt is that if I go through something like this, will I find myself with no better prospects than before?” he told the audience at the launch event in Singapore on Oct 13.
“What we’re trying to do is to make sure that young and mid-career professionals have a place in the ICT industry,” he added.
GA has a track record of 99% of its alumni getting a job within six months, claimed its Asia Pacific senior regional director Riley Batchelor.
70% subsidy for Singaporeans
The WDI and UXDI courses will commence on Nov 2 and Nov 9, respectively. Applications for the courses are now open, with GA expecting a maximum of 25 students per course.
The WDI course will cost S$11,500 (US$8,200) while UXDI will cost S$10,000 (US$7,100) in total, with Singaporeans enjoying a 70% subsidy, according to Batchelor.
“We’ll be working with the IDA to get grants for Singapore citizens for a value of up to 70% of the tuition fees,” he said.
Besides these full-time programmes, GA is also looking to launch more part-time programmes in 2016, having launched part-time UX design, product management, and front-end web development programmes in October, November and December, respectively.
“We’re looking to launching new programmes in 2016, probably in similar areas, in part-time courses in data science and mobile development,” Batchelor said.
“Although we have not officially announced it yet, we are always looking to expand the number of courses we have,” he added.
The IDA’s Leonard said these part-time courses are for those who are already in a career, while the ‘Immersives’ are for those between jobs or who have not yet started.
“We’re trying to cover a wide spectrum of needs and requirements in the community,” he said.
These courses will be essential for equipping people for Singapore’s Smart Nation initiative, Leonard declared, citing the need for everyone to contribute to this.
“Everybody in Singapore needs more talent to help build and be confident in creating with technology,” he said.
Whatever “industry you’re in, rides on technology … these programme are to address the hunger in the market for such individuals,” he added.
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