Ms He Ting Ru asked the Minister for Communications and Information what is the Ministry’s assessment of our local labour force’s ability to meet the current high demand for artificial intelligence skills.
Mrs Josephine Teo: The Government recognises the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) and has, since 2019, implemented the National AI Strategy to broaden and deepen the use of AI in Singapore. Talent is a key enabler to drive AI innovation and adoption and the Government has taken proactive steps to grow our AI talent pool in different but complementary ways.
First, we are growing a pipeline of talent to support the translation of AI advancements into new products and services. The TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) initiative has placed and trained more than 2,600 individuals in AI and data analytics job roles since 2016. With support from TeSA, AI Singapore (AISG) has also partnered companies to train mid-career Singaporeans to take up good AI-related jobs. Through AISG’s Programme, trainees receive hands-on training on projects contributed by participating companies and Government agencies. Results have shown that, given the right training, our local workforce is capable of seizing opportunities in AI, with 80% of participants receiving multiple job offers before graduation and also benefiting from an average pay increase of 25%.
Second, we continue to expand the pool of top-quality local AI research talent. Researchers in Singapore are already internationally recognised leaders in fields of AI research, such as natural language processing and computer vision. Later this year, the Government will partner AISG to introduce an AI Investigatorship to target top-tier AI researchers who can mentor promising local talent. This complements AISG’s PhD Fellowship Programme in 2020, which supports top research talents in advancing fundamental AI research here in Singapore.
Third, we are growing awareness of AI’s value and potential in the wider economy and society. AISG has various AI literacy outreach efforts. More than 100,000 attendees participated in its AI for Everyone programmes, as well as courses catered to a younger audience.
As in other fast-growing fields worldwide, demand for talent will likely exceed supply for some time. The Government will continue working with partners to scale up our efforts and empower more of our citizens to access these valuable opportunities.
Ministry of Communications and Information
20 March 2023