SINGAPORE (Aug 16): International Business Machines (IBM) is joining the Infocomm Media Development Authority’s (IMDA) Company-Led Training programme under its TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) initiative to roll out their first “New Collar Apprenticeship” initiative outside of the US.

Through the apprenticeships, IBM Singapore intends to also employ and train non-degree holders for infocomm technology (ICT) jobs within the technology industry.

IBM’s latest initiative seeks to on-board 70 apprentices over the two years spanning from 2018 to 2020, providing structured training to equip aspiring tech professionals with specialised tech skills.

To qualify for an apprenticeship under this initiative, applicants must be Singapore citizens with preferably a diploma in infocomm, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) or other related disciplines, as well as less than five years of post-grad working experience.

All apprentices will go through 12 months of on-the-job training in critical emerging tech areas, such as application development, artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, data analytics, robotic processes automation (RPA) and SAP.

In a Thursday press statement, IBM highlights these skills as high in demand in Singapore.

The firm also underscores “new collar” jobs as roles that place strong emphasis on mastery of skillsets rather than degree qualifications.

“The urgent need for qualified and experienced IT talent is a global phenomenon and one that IBM has been keenly aware of… Those that complete their apprenticeships in IBM will not only be equipped with the necessary skills to pursue a career in the technology field, but they will also have the unique advantage of priceless hands-on experience from one of the largest tech companies of the world,” says managing director, IBM Singapore, Abraham Thomas. 

IBM’s announcement comes shortly after local media reported that the US tech giant had retrenched numerous Singapore staff, including blue collar workers, as the firm announced the relocation of its Power Systems manufacturing plant in Tampines to Guadalajara, Mexico.  

Approximately 200 IBM employees in Singapore are said to have been laid off since May this year.

According to sources of Today Online, the number of laid off workers to date accounts for nearly 40% of the total staff at the local IBM plant.