Need to double tech graduates to 40,000 annually by 2022: DEPA
By PHUWIT LIMVIPHUWAT
Nuttapon Nimmanphatcharin, president and chief executive officer of The Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA)
THE DIGITAL Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA) will focus on building local talent and on doubling the number of fresh graduates annually to 40,000 by 2022 as it seeks to support the rise of five new technological industries.
The DEPA, along with Frost and Sullivan, has conducted research on technological trends in the country and identified the five technologies that will be increasingly adopted in the years from 2020 to 2025. They are: data analytics, distributed ledger technology (blockchain), artificial intelligence, next-generation telecom (5G) and the internet of things.
Currently, Thailand graduates 20,000 technology-oriented student each year from local universities, with 13,000 graduates entering industries related to digital technology and automation, noted Nuttapon Nimmanphat-charin, president and chief executive officer of the DEPA.
He was speaking yesterday at “Thailand’s Digital Technology Foresight” seminar, held jointly by the DEPA and Frost and Sullivan. Of the 13,000 graduates, 54 per cent enter jobs supporting the new technological industries, while the remaining 46 per cent take jobs directly related to digital technology development.
However, Nuttapon continued, these technological industries require an additional 40,000 talents per year, leaving Thailand facing an imminent and severe shortage of skilled labour.
To cope with this issue, DEPA has been taking canvassing tech-firms such as Google, Microsoft, Cisco and Huawei for curriculum suggestions.
“We have received a total of 84 curricula from these four organisations and our plan is to categorise these and offer official certificates to people who graduate from these programmes,” the DEPA head told reporters on the sidelines of the seminar.
The plan will be proposed to the new government once it is established, with a working target to implement the certificates by the fourth quarter of this year.
The certificate is aimed to increase the number of skilled labourers in Thailand in order to answer the demand from new technological industries. Hence, these programmes will focus on developing coding, data analytics or other relevant practical skills.
Lasting from six months to a year, the programmes will be taught both online and at university campuses, as well as by the four participating tech-companies, Nuttapon said. The annual production of people with tech skills will increase with the contribution from the programmes, and help move toward the set target of 40,000 local talents graduating yearly by 2022.
Certain economic sectors in Thailand are more adept at technological transformation than others, Richard Wong, vice president of Frost and Sullivan told the seminar. For example, financial institutions and the telecommunications sector have been faster to implement new technologies, while SMEs, the agriculture and tourism sectors, among others, have been less resourceful to date, he said.
The DEPA should develop and focus on the latter group, Wong suggested. In addition to being Thailand’s core sectors, they are also major contributions to the country’s GDP. Furthermore, the DEPA should recruit and leverage talent from regional and global grounds to help build and support new talent creation locally. For example, Wong said, the DEPA should recruit international talent in blockchain technology to help build skills in coding languages and architecture required in blockchain implementation.
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