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Ageing Singapore workers set to become techno savvy

Anuradha Shukla | April 28, 2010
Empowered by RSVP Singapore and Microsoft

SINGAPORE, 28 APRIL 2010 Senior workers often don't have the same technological skills possessed by the younger lot and thus they loose their competitive edge in the industry.

Microsoft and the organisation of senior volunteers have joined hands to help Singapore's ageing population and are giving these people the skills required to stay connected in today's digital world.

Today, about one-in-12 Singaporeans is over the age of 65 and both partners say this will grow to one-in-five by 2030. Therefore, the workers will have to hone their technology skills to be productive for a longer period of time or find work after retirement.

Basic IT skills training

Microsoft and RSVP Singapore will provide basic IT skills training to seniors so that they can better engage with society and enhance their employability. The Microsoft Unlimited Potential (MUP) donated about US$291,405 to RSVP Singapore. This organisation donated software over three years and also spent US$145,687 in discounted software and hardware.

Lee Yi Shyan, minister of state, ministry of trade and industry & ministry of manpower, noted that by the year 2030, there will be about 870,000 Singaporeans who are over the age of 65.

Lee stressed the importance of engaging Singapore's silver community and said social institutions, such as RSVP-Singapore, should play a major role in getting people and corporations attuned to this new demographic reality.

Senior workers have to re-invent themselves and be familiar with the new media and learn and use new software in order to remain employable.

Develop employment opportunities

Working together, Microsoft and RSVP Singapore will expand their existing Cyberguide programme and develop new courses that are focused on giving seniors those computing and technology skills that can help the development of entrepreneurial or community employment opportunities.

Microsoft's investment also covers a technology upgrade that enables RSVP Singapore to better serve its members and beneficiaries. RSVP Singapore has also deployed Microsoft Exchange Online for staff and member e-mail and calendaring.

As organisations look at driving up productivity, the ability for people to work smarter with technology, not just harder, is critical, and we think seniors with rich experience and who have acquired new IT productivity skills can play a big role in contributing to Singapore's economic development, said Jessica Tan, managing director, Microsoft Singapore. That is what we envision for Singapore and that is one of the reasons Microsoft chose to partner with RSVP to set up the Microsoft Unlimited Potential centre at the Silver Infocomm Junction@RSVP.  


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