SINGAPORE - Students and workers hoping to connect to start-ups overseas will soon have the help of a programme meant to give Singaporeans the skills to operate outside the country.

It will, for instance, help students in Singapore universities get work experience in foreign start-ups; set up launchpads overseas to connect entrepreneurs and business owners here with mentors and investors abroad; and also facilitate partnership between local and foreign firms looking to expand in the region.

The programme, called the Global Innovation Alliance, was announced by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat during the Budget speech on Monday (Feb 20).

It was part of a slew of other measures to prepare Singapore workers for the changing economic landscape.

Speaking in Parliament, Mr Heng said the Government wanted to build on the strengths of Singaporeans.

"Our people are valued for their skills and adaptability, and have enjoyed high employment rates and rising wages. We must build on these strengths," he said. "As the pace of change quickens, we will do more to help them stay ahead."

Apart from setting up the Global Innovation Alliance, Mr Heng also announced a SkillsFuture Leadership Development Initiative - meant to help companies groom Singaporean leaders - and said that the National Jobs Bank would be improved to deliver better job matching services for professionals. Universities, polytechinics and Institutes of Technical Education here will also start offering more short, modular courses to make training more accessible.

The SkillsFuture Leadership Development Initiative would include sending promising individuals on specialised courses and overseas postings. It would start with a target of developing 800 potential leaders over three years.

Mr Heng said that the Government has set aside $100 million for the initiative and the Global Innovation Alliance.

As for the National Jobs Bank, he said that it would work with private placement firms to deliver better matching for professionals. He added that employers, trade associations and chambers, and unions should play an active role in structuring training for workers.

Citing the Singapore Hotel and Tourism Education Centre (Shatec), which was set up by the Singapore Hotel Association over 30 years ago, he said the centre has helped build up a skilled hospitality workforce.

"We hope more employers and trade associations and chambers can do likewise."