The InfoCom Federation Brunei (IFB) expressed its commitment to further drive progress in the nation’s ICT sector through upskilling initiatives that would ensure that Brunei Darussalam’s ICT manpower is not only marketable but also meet global standards.
IFB is a non-profit national body formed in 2007 aimed at growing and nurturing Brunei’s ICT industry and according to IFB Chairwoman Pg Sarimah Pg Hj Abdul Latiff, the body continues to play its part in advancing the state of ICT in the sultanate.
“As the IFB, we sit in and are members of the Digital Economy Council, Manpower Planning and Employment Council as well as the Manpower Industry Steering Committee Working Group for ICT sector,” she told The Bruneian during the 39th National Day.
“As a member of these councils, we give our support, contribute ideas and provide feedback on a number of national initiatives,” she explained.
“Representing the private sector and members of the industry, we at IFB look more towards programmes and workshops that can provide certification, so that youths, especially graduates in the sector can be marketable employees,” added the Chairwoman.
Pg Sarimah then spoke of Coding.bn, a six-month learning programme initiated by the Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry of Brunei Darussalam (AITI), designed to train youth jobseekers with the necessary in-demand programming skills so they are more employable and industry-ready.
“One concern is how graduates in the ICT field enter the workforce with their knowledge and skills being more theory-based and having to train them once they enter is not the most economical solution,” continued Pg Sarimah.
Coding.bn, which welcomed its second cohort this year, trains and mentors participants by sharpening their programming skills and equipping them with industry-ready skills.
By undergoing three months of full-time classes followed by three months of on-the-job training, participants are also exposed to various types of programming languages based on the industry demands, as well as real-life ICT projects during on-the-job training at respective host entities.
“The programmes allow our youths in the ICT sector to upgrade themselves and it helps them find jobs. In fact, more than half of the first cohort (of 59 participants) are already employed,” she added.
Pg Sarimah then highlighted how Coding.bn is one way that the IFB and the government are working together in progressing the local ICT sector and talents, adding Brunei is “not far behind” in adapting itself to global ICT trends.
“The ICT sector in Brunei is progressing well, however, we are lacking in certain specialised areas, especially in the aspects of data analytics and data scientists, but I can say that we are moving towards that direction,” she said.
The Chairwoman then went on to say that the IFB is buoyed by a wave of new members that indicate the country’s readiness towards becoming a digital nation, noting how the body has seen an increase of technopreneurs joining the body.
Speaking of the 39th National Day celebrations where 3,900 individuals gathered in the capital to participate, Pg Sarimah expressed her pride and gratefulness for being able to see the nation come together post-pandemic, in a stunning display of patriotism.
“It is so inspiring to see the level of turn out and to see so much of the younger generation here and present (and) when the national day pledge was read out, it brought out a sense of pride in my nationality, and most importantly, it brought out gratefulness that we are still able to celebrate this day.”
THE BRUNEIAN | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN