Media professionals to benefit from S$20m funding
SINGAPORE - Employees of start-ups or freelancers in the media industry who seek to upgrade their skills or obtain apprenticeships can now tap on funding provided by the Media Development Authority (MDA) as part of its drive to increase productivity in this sector.
The S$20-million funding, which will be effective from Sunday, will go towards three new productivity measures - a training allowance, enhanced apprenticeship opportunities and a productivity grant to help media companies raise efficiency through process improvements.
The MDA aims to raise the value-add per worker from the current S$98,500 to S$119,700 through the fund.
"In the media sector, the way to productivity is through ideas," said MDA Chief Executive Officer Aubeck Kam. "We have to keep developing better ideas because better ideas mean more audiences and more value derived from the same unit of work."
Currently, the media industry employs about 72,700 workers, with at least 29,000 freelancers, according to figures from the MDA. Comprising mainly of start-ups, the industry includes the sectors of broadcasting, publishing, printing, games and software, online media, film and video, and music.
Professionals in the sector felt that the MDA's initiative will only partially contribute in raising productivity, in an industry where experience and talent plays a big part in producing creative products.
Ms Josephine Ho, Director of Six Degrees, a group of media freelancers, felt raising productivity in the creative sector would be "tricky for policymakers".
"Unlike FMCGs (fast-moving consumer goods), for example, productivity in the creative sector is not about or goes beyond volume, incremental units of production," she said.
Mr Danien Chee, a game developer in local game development studio Cabal Entertainment Software, felt funding given to automate work processes could go a long way in shortening the processing time for file conversions in game development.
Training was one area professionals had pointed out, with Mr Chee reflecting concerns from the industry that courses offered here are not entirely suitable.
Ms Ho added: "The quality, relevance, credibility of instructors and training providers are absolutely critical to a freelancer's decision to take time out to attend courses."
She also explained that freelancers face very high opportunity costs in taking time out to train.
The three areas which are funded will target different groups of professionals, seeking to allay their fears of loss of income or the financial burden on employers who send their staff for training.
Training allowances seek to benefit freelancers with up to S$1,800 per month in allowances.
Both experienced employees and freelancers can look to being matched with big companies for apprenticeships and will receive grants of up to S$3,800 per month for overseas attachments.
Employers will also get a bite of the pie, with up to $150,000 per successful applicant to improve work processes, such as adopting the latest technology to improve workflow or training staff to operate time-saving equipment.
By Tan Weizhen
27 June 2012
The fund could also support start-ups in the media sector to get training. TODAY FILE PHOTO