Singtel: Nurturing young ICT talents
Singtel is the first organisation in Singapore to offer diploma scholarships in support of SkillsFuture, a national initiative that will help Singapore through its next phase of growth with an integrated system of education, training and career progression.
The leading communications group in Asia has recently partnered with Singapore Polytechnic and Republic Polytechnic to nurture young talent through the first corporate programme of its kind, the Singtel Cadet Scholarship Programme.
The programme is fully aligned with SkillsFuture’s objectives, exemplifying the importance of having industry partners and employers on board.
Jointly developed with the two polytechnics, the Singtel Cadet Scholarship Programme focuses on nurturing young talent in the areas of engineering, cyber-security and customer experience. The scholarships, which begin this year, are worth over $2 million in total a year and provide students with industry-relevant training, as well as employment and progression opportunities.
“Through our scholarships, we can help polytechnic students acquire relevant skills and develop them in critical roles within Singtel and across the broader industry,” says Bill Chang, Singtel’s Country Chief Officer for Singapore. “Our partnership with the educational institutions will help the nation build a strong talent pool in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector and enhance customers’ experience.”
This is the first time that Singtel is offering scholarships, with a total of 90 available each year to top students across three programmes in the two polytechnics. Other Singtel scholarships are at the undergraduate level and include the Undergraduate Scholarship; the National Infocomm Scholarship with the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore; Singtel Exchange Scholarship with Singapore University of Technology and Design; and the Media Education Scholarship with the Media Development Authority.
In addition, Singtel is working with Singapore Polytechnic to refine its Diploma in Computer Engineering programme by including industry best practices and knowledge. Any changes to the curriculum will take into account the needs of the info-communications and technology sector as a whole, and will thus benefit all students regardless of their involvement in Singtel’s internship model.
Investing in the young
Singtel cadets will be offered exciting career paths that include:
- Scholarships and internships while undertaking their diploma course;
- Secured technical or customer experience management roles and developmental opportunities upon graduation;
- Overseas assignments, degree sponsorships in related fields and subsequent progression opportunities for high-performing cadets.
“Selection is based on a variety of factors and established academic achievement is an important criterion,” says Cara Reil, Vice President – Talent Management and Development, Singtel. “The specified grade point averages represent the minimum requirement and we expect many of our top students to apply for the scholarships.
“We have a rigorous selection process which comprises individual presentations, interviews and group exercises,” she adds.
The cost of sponsoring a scholar will range between $20,000 and $25,000, depending on the course of study.
Scholars will serve a one-year bond with Singtel upon joining the company, where Singtel will further develop them. All cadet scholars will receive work study opportunities that will enable them to gain additional certifications during that first year with the company.
“From their second year of their employment at Singtel, high performing scholars will also gain university scholarships in their chosen field of specialisation,” Reil adds.
Training upcoming and mature ICT professionals together
Incumbent employees are not forgotten either. Singtel offers post-diploma learning opportunities that will enable them to progress to larger-scope roles and receive pay enhancements.
Singtel also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA), with the intention to collaborate on building a pipeline of skilled professionals including ICT professionals and customer service professionals through its Place-and-Train programmes and On-the-Job Training programmes. These target fresh graduates from the polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education (ITE).
With the collaboration, emphasis will be placed on three key areas:
- Place and Train Programmes – These will help individuals to deepen their skills through structured learning and advance in their careers through placements in relevant job roles.
- Training of Employees – Under the MOU, WDA and Singtel will explore developing a holistic training plan for Singtel’s employees, equipping them with industry relevant competencies which are aligned to the workforce skills qualifications framework.
- Conversion Programmes – WDA and Singtel will also be exploring programmes to re-skill and convert mature ICT professionals by equipping them with competencies to take on other job roles within Singtel.
“Singtel’s Cadet Programme is exemplary of an organisation that takes ownership of skills development, as well as promotes career progression based on skills and mastery,” says Ng Cher Pong, CEO of WDA.
“Through this memorandum of understanding, WDA seeks to work closely with Singtel to develop Place-and-Train programmes to help fresh polytechnic and ITE graduates continue to deepen their skills through structured learning opportunities and to advance in their careers through placements into relevant job roles, which are aligned to the National Infocomm Competency Framework and consistent with SkillsFuture’s objectives.”
Singtel Cadet Scholarship Programme