RADM(NS) Tay: NICF has been gaining traction in the industry with the healthcare cluster and 22 other companies adopting it earlier this year.
The National Infocomm Competency Framework (NICF, www.nicf.sg), one of the most comprehensive competency frameworks to have been developed globally by the industry and for the industry, now covers over 200 job roles in new areas such as infocomm sales and marketing, healthcare and financial services.
Speaking at the Infocomm Professional Development Forum organised by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) and the Singapore Computer Society (SCS) last month, RADM(NS) Ronnie Tay, Chief Executive Officer of IDA, noted that the framework has been gaining traction in the industry with the healthcare cluster and 22 other companies adopting it earlier this year. IDA is also working with the Singapore Infocomm Technology Federation, (SiTF) to explore large-scale adoption of NICF by its member organisations.
Developed by IDA and the Workforce Development Agency (WDA) in consultation with the industry, the NICF is a strategic tool to transform Singapore’s infocomm manpower to take on high value-added services, said Dr Karippur Nanda Kumar, Assistant Director, Manpower Development Division, IDA.
In his presentation on NICF 2009, Dr Kumar said it plays a key role in capability development on several fronts. The NICF helps employers plan their training roadmap and assists them in the hiring process by providing information on job sizing and job specifications. Companies can use it to determine if there is a skills mismatch between what they have and what they need, and develop their training programmes accordingly, he said.
For infocomm professionals, the NICF provides a roadmap of the skills and competencies they will need to progress in their career. “One question we hear all the time is - what is my career roadmap? We hope the NICF can provide greater clarity, help them define the job roles they want and the competencies needed to reach there.”
Panellists at the Infocomm Professional Development Forum discuss the value of NICF adoption.
The NICF also helps training providers to design courses and certification programmes that are relevant to the industry. As for infocomm students, it will point them to relevant certifications that will make them even more industry-ready when they are out in the workforce.
Mr Alphonsus Pang, President of SCS, said when combined with professional certification, the NICF is “a powerful mechanism for the enhancement of employment and employability”. Two certifications offered by SCS – the Certified IT Project Manager and the Certified Outsourcing Manager for IT – are mapped onto NICF.
In all, about 300 courses and certification supported under the IDA’s Critical Infocomm Technology Resource Programme (CITREP) have been mapped onto the NICF since 2008. These cover critical and emerging skill areas such as infocomm security, interactive digital media, IT Services, as well as network and communications. From April this year, IDA has enhanced the CITREP programme by increasing its funding support for infocomm course and examination fees from 50 to 80 per cent. Companies sponsoring their employees for training will also qualify for Absentee Payroll at S$50 per day per trainee. IDA is ready to support up to 10,000 infocomm professionals under the Enhanced CITREP over the next two years.
IDA is also working with WDA to appoint Continuing Education Training or CET Centres which will develop and run training courses aligned to NICF. The first CET Centre - the Institute of Systems Science at NUS – was appointed in December last year and another three are expected to be announced soon.