Training SME mentors to attract and retain young digital talent

SIP employer IoTalents share their experience with intern millennials


As the majority of the Singapore workforce shifts to that of a younger age, organisations are starting to take notice of the needs of this new majority, the millennials. Noting that companies, especially SMEs, are encountering issues with attracting talent and face resource constraints when it comes to engaging institutes of higher learning, SiTF launched the Structured Internship Programme (SIP). Through this initiative, intern managers are given complimentary training in mentoring millennials and learn effective ways they can deliver a positive internship experience.

More than 110 member companies of SiTF have taken part in SIP and 80 interns have been placed through the programme. IoTalents is one such organisation and recently had the opportunity of having 2 interns from ITE College East’s Business Information Systems, School of Electronics and Info-Comm Technology.

Given the work environment of an SME is vastly different from that of an MNC, skills and knowledge might not necessarily be the determining factor in the selection process.

“The environment in an SME like ours is a lot more dynamic because our organisation is flat and not as structured, meaning each individual needs to be versatile and able to multi-task. While it is important to have mastery in the skills required for the job, the right attitude and personality will be the differentiator for one to truly excel,” said Mr Kek Sei Wee, CEO of IoTalents.

While most organisations tend to see interns as purely temporary, organisations like IoTalents have gone a step further in developing a special alumni programme that helps them tap into the pool of talent they have already nurtured for future needs.

“Most interns will have to go back to school, some upon graduation might choose to further their studies, and others have to enter National Service. We have set up an IoTalents' Alumni connection to keep in touch with our past interns. This is a good way for us to reach out to them for contingent support on a part-time or freelance basis,” shared Mr Kek.

Many SMEs have also noted certain preferences and misconceptions millennials have and are implementing changes to increase their appeal. While fun perks and flexible work arrangements can get their initial attention, students have previously shared that their concerns lie in not being given ample opportunity to be involved in the inner workings of the organisation or the lack in shadowing full-time employees across various functions.

In order for students to remain interested in joining SMEs, much more needs to be done to keep the talent pool from dwindling.

“I think today's millennials are very mindful when looking for their dream job. SMEs will have to reinvent and rethink their traditional HR policies when looking at these young talents. It is important to create an engaging workplace and purposeful work scope in order to attract the best possible talent,” said Mr Kek.

To help interns, fresh graduates and job-seekers link with employers, SiTF has launched talentguru, a skills-focused career development platform, powered by the latest big data analytics technology to address the skill gap and manpower shortage challenges in our ICM industry.


For more information on talentguru, visit

Contributed by Arcis Communications, SITF’s PR agency


Published date: 12 July 2017