23-Jun-2020 The Straits Times Online Five things PMETs need to know about a mid-career switch to tech Page Content The TeSA Mid-Career Advance programme helps prepare mid-career workers looking to work in the tech sector. PHOTO: IMDAWith the rapid introduction and adoption of tech in every industry, schemes like TechSkills Accelerator can help close the skills gap so workers can stay relevantSINGAPORE - As digitalisation and automation progress at an incredible rate, existing industries and jobs have adopted new technologies to innovate. This has led to workers picking up technological knowledge and skills, giving them new and better ways to do their jobs.Many companies in Singapore have recognised the benefits of tech, and its widespread implementation has undoubtedly helped improve work efficiency. Technology’s importance is also evident in recent times — with our reliance on tech for new working arrangements that can enhance productivity and minimise business disruptions. Tech skills will continue to remain essential, in the near future.But, what if you are a mid-career professional working in a different field? How does one make their transition into the field of tech in the middle of their career?As an older worker, you may be reluctant to change careers to a completely unrelated field due to a lack of confidence, or the perceived difficulty adjusting to a new industry at the later stage of your career. Making the switch may not be as difficult as you think, thanks to the TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA).TeSA is a tripartite initiative by the government, industry and the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC). Its goal is to build and develop a skilled Information and Communications Technology (ICT) workforce for the Singapore economy, and to enhance employability for individuals.Driven by Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), TeSA has a broad range of available skills development and training programmes that can help mid-career workers pick up essential skills for career progression. Among those that are still open for applications are its Company-Led Training (CLT) programme, Tech Immersion and Placement Programme (TIPP) and more recently, its Mid-Career Advance programme.TeSA Mid-Career Advance is developed by IMDA with the strong support of industry partners, this new programme is designed to help Singaporean mid-career professionals aged 40 and above to reskill or upskill themselves so that they can embark on a tech-related career.Eligible workers who sign up will be hired and trained in a variety of tech jobs by one of the 9 partner companies for up to 24 months. LIST OF PARTICIPATING COMPANIES Accenture Pte Ltd DBS Bank Ltd Integrated Health Information Systems (IHiS) Singapore Telecommunications Limited ST Engineering Tata Consultancy Services Asia Pacific Pte Ltd ThoughtWorks Pte Ltd Tunity Technologies Pte Ltd Whale Cloud Singapore Pte Ltd With older workers providing greater depth in experience and skills, it’s no surprise that companies like Integrated Health Information Systems Pte Ltd (IHiS) are on board to help them seamlessly transition to a brand new career in tech. "The HealthTech sector is rapidly growing in Singapore. At IHiS, we are always in search of talents who can contribute to our mission to improve the health of our population and health administration through HealthTech,” says its chief human resource officer, Ms May Wee. “With many project teams working to deliver solutions which digitises, connects and analyses Singapore’s health ecosystem, we offer exciting opportunities for mid-career professionals to develop themselves in the IT domain." "We believe that mid-career professionals with their wealth of experience will be able to bring new perspectives and value add to our solutions,” she adds.Ms Aileen Tan, Singtel's group chief human resources officer also believes that mid-career workers have plenty to offer. “We are committed to equipping our employees with the requisite skills to navigate the fast-changing digital landscape. We value our mature PMETs who have a strong work ethic, bring valuable experience and wisdom, and are inspiring mentors to younger staff.“TeSA Mid-Career Advance will complement our ongoing initiatives to help our PMETS deepen their digital skills and keep pace with technology. This is a win-win proposition that will enable employees to contribute meaningfully to the company while continuing to grow in their careers,” she says.Ready to switch to a career in tech? Here are five things you should know before you take the leap. THE TECH SKILLS ADVANCEMENT PROGRAMME FOR OLDER WORKERS To be eligible for the TeSA Mid-Career Advance programme, applicants must fulfil the following criteria: Be a Singapore Citizen 40 years old or older Possess a keen interest to pursue a career in tech Committed to completing the full training programme Meet the hiring requirements of the companies NO TECH KNOWLEDGE? NO PROBLEM. Applicants with no prior tech experience but are interested in developing a career in tech can apply. Through this programme, mid-career professionals with a keen interest to pursue a career in tech will be trained and hired for in-demand tech roles, regardless of background.Applicants will need to commit to completing the full training programme. GET PAID WHILE YOU LEARN NEW SKILLS ON THE JOB As this programme is a full-time programme, successful applicants will need to sign an employment contract with the company before the commencement of the programme.Trainees will gain employment and receive a salary commensurate with their relevant experience and job role, while being equipped with in-demand tech skills on the job. Through the programme, they will also get to work on projects guided by experienced mentors, gain in-depth industry exposure, and enhance their employability and career pathways in tech. TRAINING IS COMPREHENSIVE AND PRACTICAL The training duration is dependent on the complexity and skills required for each specific job role, and may last up to 24 months.Trainees will undergo instructor-led training sessions on various technologies to build up their tech knowledge, and apply their learning through on-the-job training, where they will have the opportunity to be involved in industry projects to build up their practical experience in ICT.Successful applicants should commit to the start and end date that is agreed upon in their employment contract and undergo the programme to the best of their abilities. A WIDE RANGE OF ROLES ARE AVAILABLE The companies have identified tech job opportunities covering a wide variety of roles including business analyst, project manager, sales specialist, software developer, data analyst and many more.It’s never too late to think about a change in your occupational trajectory. The tech world may seem to be a fast-paced and unfamiliar territory for many older workers, but with the TeSA Mid-Career Advance programme, you may score an opportunity to be immersed in the tech industry, and learn valuable new skills that can enable you a step-up in pursuing a career in tech.Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.