GovTech Singapore partners with Temus to train graduates with no prior IT backgrounds

By Si Ying Thian

GovTech Singapore will accept 80% of the graduates from Temus’ digital career conversion programme, Step IT Up, to work on its projects as Digital Business Analysts for a year.

Temus, IMDA, GovTech Singapore and some Step IT Up graduates at the 9 May 2024 graduation ceremony. Image: Temus. 

GovTech Singapore will become Temus’ first client to take in graduates from its Step IT Up programme for on-the-job training.


17 out of 21 (80%) Temus graduates will be assigned to work on GovTech projects as Digital Business Analysts for a year, with the remaining converting to full-time employees within Temus.


Step IT UP is Temus’ digital career conversion programme for people with no tech experience. It is supported by Singapore’s tech promotion agency, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), to close the digital talent gap in the country.


The 9 May graduation ceremony commences the end of the four-months’ training. In his closing address, Srijay Ghosh, Chief Revenue Officer of Temus, highlighted the Singapore government’s recent emphasis on going beyond formal education when it comes to skill acquisition.


Unlike conventional upskilling that focuses mainly on the individual’s skillsets, Temus takes an enterprise-first, “hire and train” approach.


This means that upskilling focuses on aligning training with the organisation’s needs.


First, Temus secures enterprise clients who want to close their digital talent gaps. It takes charge of understanding the organisation’s talent needs and designing the training programmes to meet the needs.


Temus then recruits and trains potential trainees who want to be employed in these organisations.

Working with GovTech Singapore


This is the third batch of graduates from Step IT Up since its 2022 launch, with the first two absorbed by Temus as employees. Ghosh shares with GovInsider that the first two runs had been a learning process for Temus to refine the programme.

Temus' Chief Revenue Officer Srijay Ghosh says it took Temus about a year to work with GovTech Singapore on aligning the latter's digital talent needs with the training. Image: Temus.

Ghosh says that it took Temus about a year of working with GovTech to align the latter’s talent needs with the training.


“It’s four months of socialisation, and four months of designing and evaluating the programme, and then the last four months of running the marketing and recruitment processes.”


He likens GovTech’s expectation of the digital business analyst role to be like a “Swiss army knife” – to have both technical coding capabilities, as well as the business acumen to bridge both skillsets.


For this batch of graduates, their training was designed around four certifications assessing trainees for specific skillsets required for the role.


During this period, GovTech would also organise seminars, and lunch and learn events for the trainees to socialise with them.


Ghosh teases that there are “early discussions” with other government agencies. Currently, Temus is targeting enterprise clients from both the public and private sector who need digital talent.


“Almost every large organisation has a digital transformation roadmap, and transformation cannot happen without talent. Hence, Step IT Up can prepare talent to run these programmes to get there.”

Employers need to have ‘skin in the game’


“If enterprises are paying for your upskilling and willing to place you in the jobs, it shows that they are invested in your career development and this maximises returns on both sides,” says Temus’ Director Marcus Loh to GovInsider.


"The traditional struggle with conventional upskilling movements is that incentivising personal development does not necessarily translate into strong career outcomes for Singapore’s workforce,” he adds.


To better match supply with demand, Loh emphasises the need for enterprises to have “skin in the game” in transforming workers.


In this partnership, Temus acts as a buffer to take accountability of the success of the digital talent development for GovTech.


“During this 12-month period of on-the-job training, the graduates remain as employees of Temus. It’s only after this period that GovTech has the option to take all of them as employees. The guidance provided to these graduates is a partnership.”


He adds that as GovTech has invested the time and mentorship to place the graduates in their projects across different government agencies, they are more incentivised to support the successful training of these graduates.


Loh shares that at the sectoral level, governments and industry bodies play an important role to incentivise, mobilise, and aggregate the demand for workers.

Upskilling will continue to focus on technology


In his keynote, IMDA’s Chairman Russell Tham highlighted the increasing importance of such IT upskilling programmes as the government ramps up its focus on AI and the digital economy.


Loh shares that even within the technology domain, there are multiple roles that require different levels of technical and cognitive capabilities, like coders and IT project managers.

Step IT Up's recruitment targets mid-career individuals due to their prior industry experience in different sectors, says Temus' director Marcus Loh. Image: Temus.

“There are different pay grades and career trajectories, of course. But you get to be part of the productive class of workers, as compared to being left out altogether.”


As to why recruitment targets trainees with no tech backgrounds, Loh shares the value of recruiting mid-career individuals: “They bring with them not a fresh canvas, but prior industry experience in different sectors.


“Naturally, these are experiences we can build on. For someone with an education background, they may be trained in digital skills and interested to work in the Ministry of Education.”


Temus then helps to facilitate that matchmaking process.