The Digital Talent Scholarship (DTS) is a program launched by the Ministry of Communications and Informatics in 2018 that aims to increase the quantity and quality of tech talents in the digital and IT sector in the country. While the government works closely with program service providers, such as privately-run coding bootcamps, most of the programs available are introductory-level classes. This creates a “ready for employment” gap because many of the graduates from these programs are still deemed to lack the practical working experience that many potential employers are looking for.
The DTS outlined in the Minister of Communications and Informatics Regulation No. 2 of 2021 on the Strategic Plan 2020-2024 offers training scholarships for technology competency programs, with a maximum duration of 3 months according to the chosen training theme1. To accommodate participants from various backgrounds, the DTS was divided into several programs, such as:
- Fresh Graduate Academy: Open to university students and graduates
- Vocational School Graduate Academy: Open to vocational school graduates, including vocational secondary education and higher institution diploma level
- Thematic Academy: Open to the general public2
However, the programs currently do not specify the provision of professional development opportunities alongside technical training.
Implementing initiatives that can provide students in the program with job-ready skills and industry contacts will help distinguish them in the competitive job market. To ensure success, the program must have a clear KPI and procedures to monitor and evaluate the “job-readiness” of its students based on metrics such as skills improvement, practical work experience, communication capabilities, increased confidence and collaboration with others. Furthermore, DTS initiatives should also include practical training on real-world challenges, having practitioners as teachers, and facilitating networking with peers and professionals in the industry.
For many entrepreneurs, the decision to turn into innovations depends on the ease to adopt technology, trained workforces, and multiple sources of finance. Yet, navigating the complex regulation is a major challenge for most lay business people. To expedite the economic recovery post-pandemic recession, the stakeholders in the ecosystem are urged to formulate the right policy to simplify such challenges.