Singapore

Job applications open for 1,000 digital ambassadors

SG Digital Office will hire 'a variety of people' to help hawkers and seniors pick up digital skills

The 1,000 digital ambassadors who will be hired this month to help stallholders and seniors learn digital skills will be paid between $1,800 and $2,100 a month, according to multiple job listings for the role seen by The Straits Times.

These ambassadors, who will come under the new SG Digital Office (SDO) that was announced on Sunday, will be hired under a one-year temporary contract, as indicated on the Careers@Gov website.

The SDO's aim is to intensify outreach efforts to the hardest-to-reach segments of society and encourage them to adopt digital tools and learn digital skills.

Its digital ambassadors will start with all 112 hawker centres and wet markets this month, to encourage stallholders to adopt e-payment and avoid having to handle cash.

By March next year, the ambassadors should have reached out to 100,000 seniors, teaching them basic digital skills such as how to buy things online and how to use smartphone apps to talk to friends and family.

On Sunday, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) said these digital ambassadors will consist of a mix of volunteers as well as staff who will be hired for this role.

In response to a question on the proportion of volunteers and staff, Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran said on Sunday that the Government intends to recruit 1,000 people.

"We intend to have 1,000 employees recruited for this purpose. But it takes time to ramp up and you will need, therefore, a combination of both, and volunteers will always be a very important part of this effort, even after you have them."

IMDA and MCI had said SDO will prioritise the recruitment of ambassadors from graduating cohorts of the institutes of higher learning, who are reported to be having trouble finding jobs in the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

But Mr Iswaran said on Sunday that a variety of people will be needed for this role.

"It is going to be a spectrum of people - it will be young people like, for example, graduates from ITE (Institute of Technical Education) or polytechnics or universities, who can bring one perspective and an important set of skills to the table," he added.

"We will also need people who are in a mid-career type of age range, or maybe even older, because they will have both the experience of having had this journey, and perhaps a different way of communicating with this target segment."

Both the Careers@Gov website and job listings for the role, posted by recruitment agencies such as Kelly Services and Certis Human Resource Services, do not specify what kind of academic qualifications are required for the job.

Instead, it is stated that among other things, these ambassadors should have good interpersonal and communication skills, and they will have to be "patient" in guiding seniors and hawkers.

Mr Iswaran touched on this, too, saying that those who apply for the role will need to have empathy to perform well in the job.

"The key requirement across all of them is going to be the ability to empathise and relate to the context and needs of the specific customers they are dealing with on the ground."

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