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Governments in Asia leading digital workforce transformation

At the World Economic Forum last week, business and government leaders gathered together in Davos, Switzerland, to discuss among many other things, the future of work, global growth and the world of automation and artificial intelligence. A huge topic of discussion was the ageing workforce and multigenerational employees. Topics focused on how to keep existing workforces digitalised and how to prepare the next generation for the next wave of industrialisation.

There are many ways in which governments in South East Asia see this happening: educating their citizens, inspiring SMEs, and creating a digital workforce.

Educating and building a digital ready workforce

Incorporating digital literacy into standard school education from an early age and ensuring that schools develop not only the usual systematic acumen but also social and emotional skills is likely to be the most effective way of teaching and providing a foundation for future learning and re-learning.

ETDA launched the ‘Young Talent Platform’ during Thailand’s e-Commerce Week 2019 (31 January – 2 February 2019) to bring together young Thai people with the aim of helping them be digitally ready for working in the e-Commerce era. The Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA) announced that they aim to attract 1 million teenagers to join the e-commerce workforce and 200,000 micro-SMEs to go online this year to boost the online economy.

In Hong Kong, they introduced –  Upskilling and future-proofing the workforce are on top of employers and the government’s agenda. New and in-demand roles that are key to driving innovation and digital integration can be found in asset management, fintech, data analytics and cybersecurity.

Govt recognises smaller businesses as innovative source for Technology Solutions

Governments are realising the potential of small/medium sized enterprises for innovation and solutions. And they are launching initiatives throughout the world to support and work in partnership with them.

Digital has always been a priority for Singapore. However, the Government understands that new and young companies might struggle with building a digital infrastructure aligned to the country’s larger goal.To help such companies, therefore the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and Enterprise Singapore  announced developed a project – Start Digital — an initiative of the ‘SMEs Go Digital’ programme.

Malaysia also recognised the need to support their smaller businesses, an initiative organised by one of the world’s largest e-commerce groups, will complement the ongoing Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP) initiatives in Malaysia. According to the report, the 10-day programme will be hosted at the e-commerce company’s headquarters in Hangzhou, China, and the second training programme would kick off from in April 2019.

The programme is aimed at enabling Malaysian entrepreneurs and those who operate businesses within the Malaysian market to embrace digital innovations to transform their businesses and the country’s economy. Under the eWTP agreement with Malaysia, the e-commerce group was committed to facilitate the development of eTrade infrastructure and the adoption of best practices.

Government benefits from national and industry experience

And it is just not about rolling out innovative initiatives, Government today wants to learn how to collaborate, communicate, liaise with stakeholders and work alongside industry. And due to the many challenges public servants are faced with, they have to acquire many skills in a short space of time.  With such fast paced technology to create new jobs and better economy and place to live and the Asia and Pacific region is well-placed to benefit. Government policymakers need to embrace and develop their education and regulatory systems and this is evident already in 2019.


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