Chief Executive of Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry of Brunei Darussalam (AITI) Ir Haji Jailani bin Haji Buntar, speaking at the recent launch of the Brunei ICT Industry Competency Framework (BIICF), said the Future of Jobs 2020 report by the World Economic Forum (WEF) has found that COVID-19 has caused the labour market to change faster than expected.
The report further indicates that what used to be considered the “future of work” has already arrived. Companies’ adoption of technology will transform tasks, jobs, and skills by 2025.
Some 43 per cent of businesses surveyed said that they are set to reduce their workforce over the next few years because of technology integration.
“Globally, we can see that workers with advanced digital skills are in high demand.
Therefore, it is important for us to contextualise the expected outlook for technology adoption, jobs and skills for the upcoming years,” the report said.
“While the COVID-19 pandemic has posed an unprecedented challenge, it also has accelerated ICT adoption creating new opportunities. Digitalisation is no longer a nice to have, but rather a must have to enable business continuity and transformation.”
Ir Haji Jailani added that by the year 2035, Brunei Darussalam aspires to excel in three key areas: a highly educated, skilled and accomplished population; quality of life that is among the top 10 nations in the world; and a dynamic and sustainable economy.
In support of these aspirations, the Digital Economy Masterplan 2025 launched in June 2020 outlines strategies for the country to become a Smart Nation that has a digital and future-ready society, vibrant and sustainable economy as well as a conducive digital ecosystem.
“Manpower and Talent Development is one of the four strategic thrusts under this Masterplan where the focus, among others, includes studying the demand for digital jobs in all industries, updating education programmes and developing local capabilities in alignment with the industry skills,” he said.
As the country is pursuing its agenda for digital transformation towards a Smart Nation, the Manpower Industry Steering Committee Working Group for ICT Sector (MISC-WG ICT) has recognised the importance of establishing a national ICT industry competency framework, to ensure that local ICT professionals have the relevant competencies to perform their jobs and to guide them with the required skills that are aligned with the industry’s needs.
“As one of the key ingredients for digitalisation is the workforce, it is critical that they are equipped with the new skills and competencies in order to manage digital transformation, and to keep up to date with accelerated technological advancements,” he said.
Ir Haji Jailani also said that the BIICF has been prepared through an extensive and concerted effort by the BIICF Working Group together with the Competencies Development Technical Group of the MISC-WG ICT, which comprises representatives from the government, industry, institutes of higher learning, and training providers.
The BIICF has identified 79 technical and soft skills competencies for 20 job roles across six ICT sub-sectors.
These job roles amongst others include data analyst, data engineer, application developer, cyber risk analyst and security engineer, which were identified as critical job roles and of high demand, based on the findings from the ICT manpower survey and stakeholder’s engagement held with the industry back in 2020. BIICF was developed to support the vision of Brunei Vision 2035 and the Digital Economy Masterplan 2025, and aims to ensure that the local ICT professionals have the relevant competencies to perform their jobs and to guide them with the required skills that are aligned with the industry’s needs.
With the assistance of appointed consultant, Rhymin & Partners, the draft BIICF was reviewed, validated and enhanced to ensure they remain industry relevant by taking into reference of the Skills Framework for Information Age (SFIA Version 8), Singapore’s Skills Framework for Infocomm Technology, Malaysian Skills Competency Matrix and Japan i-Competency Dictionary.
It was further verified through a series of consultations with more than 50 local industry leaders across the ICT and non-ICT sectors, including government-linked companies (GLCs), micro, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and the start-ups.
He expressed hope that stakeholders will be able to explore the use of this BIICF for their own needs and situation. As an example, for industry and businesses, the Framework will help in their talent hiring, talent development and succession planning processes.
Using the skills map and career pathways illustrated in the Framework, they can identify the skills and competencies required for each job role and invest in the training to grow the skills in their workforce.
Similarly, for training providers, the BIICF can enhance relevant training programmes for the ICT sector, ensuring that professionals will have access to up-to-date courses and trainings that would enable the workforce to remain relevant and effective in their professions.
On this note, he said the BIICF has been taken as reference for curriculum and competencies development by the local learning institutions and private entities.
Politeknik Brunei has reviewed its ICT curriculum including its new diploma in data analytics programme to complement BIICF. Last year, the MISC-WG ICT endorsed the EVYD Technology’s Certificate of Professional Achievement in Data Engineering and Dynamik Technologies’ blockchain masterclass training courses, for which contents were also aligned with the BIICF competencies.
In the near future, the MISC-WG ICT will introduce the TechInspire Apprenticeship programme, targetting ICT jobseekers to take up the IT technician and network technician job roles, with training modules curated by the BIICF.