SG govt unveils SG Digital Office, recruits 1,000 digital ambassadors

Singapore has created the SG Digital Office (SDO) under the Infocomm Media Development Authority, to drive the government's push to accelerate digital adoption in the community. According to Minister for Communications and Information S Iswaran, SDO will recruit and deploy 1,000 digital ambassadors by the end of June this year. Comprising both full-time staff and volunteers, they will work with companies, community groups and the public to engage these target groups over the next few years.

The digital ambassadors will play a critical role in providing frontline, personalised one-to-one as well as small group support to seniors and stallholders who require additional assistance to adopt digital solutions and technology. SDO will prioritise the recruitment of digital ambassadors from the graduating cohorts of institutes of higher learning in Singapore. The full-time digital ambassadors will be complemented by volunteers from the public, corporations and Silver Infocomm Wellness Ambassadors.

A quick check by Marketing found that the salary range for digital ambassadors is between SG$1,800 to SG$2,100 and the contract is for a period of 11 months, according to job portal FastJobs. According to Iswaran, the SDO will mobilise a whole-of-nation movement to accelerate Singapore’s digitalisation by building on and ramping up existing efforts to equip every individual and business, with digital tools and skills to participate meaningfully in the new social and economic environment post COVID-19. The initiative includes small businesses and seniors.

The digital ambassadors will cover all 112 hawker centres and wet markets in June 2020 to encourage stallholders to adopt SGQR codes for e-payment. Iswaran added that the outreach will be ramped up further from July 2020, to include coffee shops and industrial canteens. The government's goal is to engage 18,000 stallholders to help them get onboard the unified e-payment solution by June 2021, he said. The digital ambassadors will also reach out to and raise the digital skills of 100,000 seniors by March 2021, up from the current annual target of 10,000 seniors reached through one-to-one skilling efforts.

"We want to quickly include our seniors in these digital efforts, so that they can join other citizens in communicating and transacting digitally.  For seniors from lower-income households who wish to learn but are unable to afford the devices, we will provide them with financial support," Iswaran explained.

Iswaran added that the government will also help those who have not begun using digital tools to get on board with digital transformation, building on current momentum. IMDA, National Environment Agency, Jurong Town Corporation, Housing Development Board and Enterprise Singapore will provide a bonus of SG$300 per month over five months to encourage more stallholders at hawker centres, wet markets, coffee shops, and industrial canteens to use e-payments and avoid having to handle cash, he said.

"The government recognises that in the wake of COVID-19, digitalisation is now both an imperative and an opportunity.  Digitalisation can significantly improve the lives and livelihoods of our people.  We are therefore seizing the moment, by establishing the new SG Digital Office and doubling down on our efforts to help every individual, worker and business go digital," Iswaran said.

He added that working with like-minded members of the community, corporate entities and individuals, SDO will drive Singapore’s national digitalisation movement, to ensure that everyone has a place in Singapore’s digital future.

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