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OpenGov Asia attended the National Infocomm Media Award Ceremony at The Gallery, Grand Hyatt yesterday. The event was graced by Minister S Iswaran, Minister for Communications and Information. Also in attendance were Mr Tan Kiat How, CEO of the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), and Mr David Koh, Chief Executive of Cyber Security Agency of Singapore.

54 scholarships were awarded. Of which, 21 were recipients of the National Cybersecurity Postgraduate Scholarship. Another 800 tertiary students were formally accepted into the Industry Preparation for Pre-graduate (iPrep) program. iPrep equips and prepares pre-graduates with industry-relevant skillsets and experiences to ensure a reliable source of talent.

Why the Infocomm Media Sector is Important to Singapore

In his opening address, the Minister lauded the infocomm media sector as key to Singapore’s digital transformation and digital economy. The sector is important on four fronts. First, a globally competitive infocomm media sector can foster greater inclusivity in Singapore’s economy. Moreover, the sector’s vibrancy is one way to enhance public services for citizens. Thirdly, the infocomm media sector can ensure economic competitiveness. Finally, the sector’s competitiveness is the basis to foster greater innovation.

Currently, there are about 200 000 infocomm and media professionals in Singapore. With an increasingly digitised global economy, growth in the number of professionals in this sector are expected to rise.

Hence, from a national strategic point of view, the Singapore Government is deploying focused efforts to “develop a deep pool of infocomm media talent to lead the change in the digital future and seize new business opportunities”.

How to Wade Deep Waters

With this end in mind, an established course is charted with renewed intensity.

The Minister announced that the different scholarships offered by IMDA will subsequently be collectively branded as the Singapore Digital (SG:D) Scholarship. It combines the three scholarships offered by the separate statutory boards, the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) and the Media Development Authority (MDA), before the merger in 2016. These were the National Infocomm Scholarship, Media Education Scholarship, and Infocomm Polytechnic Scholarship.

By unifying these into a single brand, efforts are better aligned toward developing talent and leaders for the next generation.

Recipients are expected to be bright in more ways than one. Past recipients such as Anthony Chow, CEO of Igloohome, and Alvin Lee, winner of the Best New Director at the China Short Film Golden Hummingbird Awards 2016, used their smarts and talent to raise Singapore’s profile internationally.

Through the scholarship, the Singapore Government is helping its citizens to make waves in the industry by providing the necessary incentives and support.

Quenching the Heat

In his opening address, Minister S Iswaran announced an exciting fleet of upcoming plans. First, it was announced that from 2019, the number of tertiary level scholarships handed out will double. Up to 100 scholarships, comprising of the SG:D scholarships and the National Cybersecurity Postgraduate Scholarships, will be awarded. The National Cybersecurity Postgraduate Scholarship is jointly awarded by IMDA and the National Research Foundation.

IMDA is also working to provide more global exposure opportunities for close to 2500 tertiary students over the next two years. Internships, immersion programs, and international competitions will be curated for students to explore the dynamics of the international and regional markets, and build their professional network. The SG:D Scholarship will fund these extracurricular activities.

Current programs will also be upgraded.

Beyond awarding students from Information and Digital Technologies polytechnic courses, the SG:D Scholarship and IMDA’s iPrep program will be extended to polytechnic students in Arts, Design and Media. A total of 30 scholarships will be granted annually. Furthermore, iPrep participants may also tap on the curated development program and global exposure opportunities. IMDA hopes to support more than 2500 iPrep participants over the next two years.

Recognising the need for specialised skills in emerging technologies like Blockchain, AI and Immersive Media, the SG:D Scholarship will now support those wishing to undertake a related masters or PhD. Together with the National Cybersecurity Postgraduate Scholarship, a total of 20 postgraduate scholarships for infocomm and media courses will be awarded annually.

Ending the joyous occasion, Minister S Iswaran concluded, “There are many exciting and rewarding journeys that await you as you seek out your passions within this infocomm media sector. It is going through tremendous evolution, but in that evolution we find new opportunities which can sustain Singapore’s competitiveness and exciting career pathways.”

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