Singapore will set up a scheme to train citizens with digital skills and help them find jobs.

The TechSkills Accelerator will identify specific skills that are in demand and work with trainers to fill gaps in startups, finance and healthcare, said Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat in today’s Budget speech.

It will work with employers to commit to hiring and paying technologists based on skills, rather than academic qualifications. A number of employers have already signed up for this, including the new Government Technology Agency, he said.

The government will develop industry-recognised standards and certifications for these skills. This will help citizens acquire the right training and help employers measure their proficiency.

“The demand for ICT professionals is growing because it can enable many new businesses as well as disrupt existing ones,” Minister Heng said, and that the “current shortage of our own experts is driving up pay”.

In addition, the government will spend SG$1 billion per year on its SkillsFuture programme until 2020. The programme, announced in Budget 2015, provides citizens SG$500 of credit to attend training and pick up new skills.