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THE INTERVIEW: Azzli Bin Jamain, WDA Director of Creative and Professional Services Division

F.Y. Teng | Nov. 14, 2013
Serving Up the NextGen Workforce—Singapore's continually enhanced National Infocomm Competency Framework and its role as a driver of the country's ICT industry.

In developing the map, we work with the industry stakeholders to scan through the industry, including [examining] emerging trends, to identify what new job roles and what new competencies are required. And for each of the competencies identified, we work closely with the industry stakeholders to review and agree on the content-the [requisite] skills and knowledge-and then have it endorsed by a Steering Committee comprising senior industry practitioners and leaders. What that means is that when they appear in this 'map' they would have gone through a series of industry validation.

As such, the 'map' can be used with confidence by the various stakeholders to refer and to benchmark against. Training Partners like NUS-ISS use this as a "source code" to map and develop their training programmes to address skill gaps; to ensure that their training programmes are relevant and stay current when they are rolled out to the industry.

Employers use the map to enhance their HR practices and to support their business needs, to ensure that the people they recruit, and the in-service people that they have currently, are benchmarked and equipped with the relevant skills and competencies required for their jobs and operations. And the ICT professionals themselves can use it as a basis to identify what skills they need to have in order to enter the industry and to progress in their careers.

Do you find Singapore's ICT talent now lacking in business smarts as compared to, say, five years ago?
My personal take on that is that sometimes we can be overly critical of ourselves. I think we're not doing too badly in some areas. Our workforce-including those in ICT-has generally been positively viewed.

Of course, in the face of continued and increasing competition in an open and globalised economy like ours, we need to continue to be mindful of what makes us a viable economy. Our workforce has to remain competitive, skilled and dynamic. We should continuously strive to improve and upgrade, to stay ahead of the curve. And moving forward, it is also important for our ICT professionals to be able to progress and take on more strategic roles, such as a "business partner" and not be limited to a support function.

Please share with us how active a role your programme partners play in the continued development of the NICF and programmes that stem from it.
In the past, the role of a training provider was mostly limited to delivering training programmes. We have since changed that, [starting] some five years ago or so, when we initiated the CET Centre programme. The CET Centre is generally one level up from an approved training organisation or ATO.


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