Technology will take the front seat in the future of work, revolutionising the way organisations operate. Already, traditional sectors like manufacturing have started to see the emergence of smart factories, using increased automation and real-time updates on inventory to improve productivity. In areas like healthcare, standards have also been raised with the help of technology like virtual reality improving surgical precision and enhancing the training of doctors.

Public agencies have been equally quick to jump on the digital bandwagon and the Home Team agencies under MHA are no exception. For instance, the Singapore Police Force developed patrol robots, to remotely detect threats and project police presence, the Police Coast Guard uses unmanned surface vessels to patrol Singapore waters autonomously and SCDF developed life-detection robot for use in urban rescue missions to pick up signs of human life amidst the rubble and debris – examples of how technology plays a big part in the Home Team’s transition into the future of work.

We speak to Senior HR Director at MHA, Ms Shirlyn Ng, about the steps officers can take to thrive in this new environment.


#1: Be tech-savvy

The Home Team understands how tech is a game changer, and believes in leveraging technology to augment resources, project a greater presence and provide more targeted and timely intervention. 

Efforts are expected to ramp up in the future. ICA will implement the BioScreen-Multi Modal Biometrics Screening System across all checkpoints, which will make our immigration clearance process more efficient and secure. ICA is also working towards full automated clearance in all passenger halls by 2025 – and these are only a few of the many changes in the pipeline, Shirlyn says.

To stay abreast of the changes, the need is for officers who are “digitally conversant” and “smart users of data”, understanding how to read, use, and anticipate the types of data needed.

#2: Bring an attitude of “can do and dare to do”

The rapidly changing security landscape also means that an integrated and synergised response has never been more important than now. For the security and safety of Singaporeans, it is crucial that the Home Team “be excellent in the present and prepared for the future”.

To achieve this, “we need people who are agile. The can do and dare to do spirit must be there. They must have a progressive mindset to continue to be excellent in what they do, and continue to look for improvements to stay ahead.”

The future of work will therefore require officers to be willing and able to take on value-added roles, picking up new skills and evolve – moving upstream to plan for the future as well as downstream to engage the public.


#3: Expect opportunities for training

Shirlyn is quick to point out that this shift towards value-added work and new skillsets will not go unsupported. Officers in Home Team can also expect an abundance of opportunities for training. 

Noting that analytics, data skills and soft skills are common requirements across industries, Shirlyn clarifies that what differentiates a Home Team officer is the security acumen. As this acumen is something that can only be honed through experience, simulation training is expected to take centre stage in the future, with technology like virtual reality enhancing realism and building up officers’ abilities to react.

#4: Grow deep or grow broad

Exploration is also encouraged – after all, it is "one Home Team, many opportunities”, Shirlyn proudly proclaims. Specialists will find satisfaction in expert tracks that allow them to deepen their specialisation and this applies to both uniformed or civilian officers. Officers can also be rotated across different functions, trying their hand at a broad spectrum of roles. 

No matter one’s interests, the competitive remuneration, variety of career pathways and vast development opportunities mean one is bound to find an area to grow in.


#5: Embrace a meaningful future

Shirlyn stresses that regardless of role, the identity of a Home Team officer is tied to a strong sense of purpose. Looking back at her own experience riding with paramedics and special ops forces, meeting with CNB officers and Captains of Lives, she recalls remarkable individuals that have inspired her with their bravery and passion. The Home Team works closely as one to ensure a safe and secure Singapore.

As she eloquently puts it: “our values are honour and unity, and that guide everything we do”, all the way from daily operations and synergy across agencies, to the implementation of people strategies and support of retiring Home Team officers. She hopes that tech and changes aside, Home Team officers will preserve this sense of purpose as they move, united, into the future of work.
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