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Singapore invests in regional talent development

The Singaporean government has announced two initiatives to fund internships for its students in Southeast Asia and India, in a drive to develop talent to fuel the growth of Singaporean businesses in the region.

IE Singapore, Confederation of Indian Industry, Nanyang Technological University, National University of Singapore, Singapore Management University sign an MOU to expand the Young Talent Programme at the ASEAN-India Business ForumRepresentatives from IE Singapore, the Confederation of Indian Industry and three Singaporean universities sign an MOU to expand the Young Talent Programme at the ASEAN-India Business Forum. Photo: IE Singapore.

“This will help build a pipeline of India-ready talent that can support companies as they expand in this important market”

The two projects – a new internship scheme at Singaporean companies operating in Southeast Asia and a partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry – aim to cultivate new talent that can then carry out the overseas expansion of Singapore’s businesses, said Lee Ark Boon, CEO of International Enterprise Singapore, the government agency promoting international trade.

“We need to develop greater depth and breadth in the way we engage in this region”

“ASEAN and India are familiar markets in some ways but we need to develop greater depth and breadth in the way we engage in this region,” Lee commented at the ASEAN-India Business Forum in Singapore on April 21.

The IE Singapore Go SEA Award will provide scholarships and stipends to enable final-year undergraduates to undertake work placements in the Southeast Asian offices of Singaporean companies operating throughout the region.

The project will match high-achieving students with the companies and fund their travel and living expenses and a monthly stipend for the duration of the internship. It aims to provide 30 awards of S$12,000 (US$8,600) in the initial pilot year.

The internships will last at least 12 weeks and may lead to job offers for some of the students post-graduation.

Companies that are already signed up to the initiative include the OCBC Limited banking corporation and event management company Pico Art International and Stamford Tyres Corporation, with more to be announced in the second half of 2017.

During the summit, IE Singapore also signed three Memoranda of Understanding with the Confederation of Indian Industry and three domestic universities – Nanyang Technological University, National University of Singapore and Singapore Management University – in an extension of its existing Young Talent Programme.

Through the initiative, students receive a scholarship of up to $300 a week, plus travel expenses, to undertake internships at overseas businesses.

The MOUs expand the pool of businesses taking part in the Young Talent Programme, which currently includes 17 Singaporean companies, to include CII’s more than 8,000 member businesses.

“This will help build a pipeline of India-ready talent that can support companies as they expand in this important market,” Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry S. Iswaran said at the forum.

“It complements what we are already doing in Southeast Asia and is also a way to augment the work of our institutes of higher learning, to make sure our students, even as they start their learning journey from secondary school through university, have the opportunities to go into the region, understand the culture, assimilate some of the value systems so that they become truly effective and region-ready players when they enter the workplace.”

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