More than a hundred participants took part in the Manpower Industry Steering Committee Working Group for ICT Sector’s (MISC-WG ICT) first stakeholder engagement, where ICT and non-ICT businesses gathered to address issues surrounding local ICT manpower and employment. 

In his opening remarks, Acting Chief Executive of the Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry (AITI), Ir. Hj Jailani Hj Buntar said that the MISC-WG ICT has been tasked to look into how to better align the supply and demand of ICT manpower in the country. 

Subsequently, the MISC-WG ICT will also address the skill gaps and mismatch, to further equip ICT graduates to become industry ready and thus, part and parcel of the stakeholders’ engagement are to seek further understanding of the challenges of hiring ICT professionals. 

According to Hj Jailani, there are more than ten thousand jobseekers actively looking for jobs in Brunei, and more than a thousand of them are graduates from various ICT programmes. 

However, he added that discussions with non-ICT businesses have revealed that ICT professionals are sought after in the country, with several of the stakeholders identifying ICT job positions that are needed in the next five years. 

These job positions, he continued, span across different sectors and include data administrators and analysts, system analysts and engineers, programmers and cybersecurity among others. 

“In the midst of the Fourth Industrial Revolution or IR4.0, we have to ensure that the digital skills of our local workforce are also at par with the rest of the world,” he said. 

The stakeholder engagement took place from October 13 to 15 and saw the involvement of more than 50 participants from the non-ICT sector as well as 90 representatives from ICT businesses. 

Attendees were briefed on the various manpower development initiatives by the Permanent Secretariat of the Manpower Planning and Employment Council (MPEC) at the Prime Minister’s Office. 

AITI, as the Secretariat of the MISC-WG ICT also shared the current manpower landscape of the ICT industry as well as the activities and expected deliverables of the working group. 

The engagement concluded with a breakout session moderated by Dr Yong Tee Chuan, a member of MISC- WG ICT, where attendees discussed and deliberated on issues pertaining to local hiring of ICT manpower, critical jobs in demand and suggestions to overcome these challenges. 

The MISC was established under the MPEC as a platform for a collaborative partnership between the respective industries and regulators, as well as education and training institutions in aligning the manpower demand with the necessary supply. 

The MISC focuses on five industrial sectors which are Construction, Energy, Hospitality and Tourism, ICT, and Marine, for which respective Sectoral MISC Working Groups (MISC-WG) have been set up and led by industry players and respective regulators. 

This article was first published on October 24, 2020 in our Weekly E-Paper issue 112

The Bruneian | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

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