She is a mother of four and has been a systems and IT engineer at HP Incorporated for 25 years. When the company started an internal Professional Conversion Programme (PCP) for data analytics in October last year, Mrs Kelly Quek, 49, decided to apply.

She said she did it because she saw the engineering field heading in a different direction, which could make employees like her redundant.

"So many social platforms are overtaking our lives. Technology is coming into play, and it's scary for us if we do only traditional engineering. It is very obvious that these technologies will take over in the long run."

Mrs Quek is one of 16 employees who were trained in data analytics to take on new roles as project leaders in the area. Most of the 16 are engineers and domain experts.

The first programme, working with the National University of Singapore's Institute of Systems Science and Workforce Singapore (WSG), will conclude in about a month's time.

Retraining was brought up in Parliament yesterday when Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say mentioned a company working with WSG and a training provider to retrain redundant employees in the field of data analytics.

The director of operations of the ink cartridge manufacturing arm of HP Inc, Mr Dominic Chew, said their internal PCP was launched to transform work processes.

"Data analytics will allow them to apply more advanced technologies to their areas of work. It allows them to predict behaviour," he said.

"For example, maintenance of our equipment is typically time-based maintenance. But data analytics allows us to predict when a machine will break down, and we can do the maintenance in advance."

Mrs Quek, whose children are aged 12 to 19, initially wanted to pursue a part-time Master's degree to upgrade her skills.

But she said part-time studies would have taken too much of her time, and hopes to pursue further education in the area when her children are older. HP Inc's PCP is held during office hours.

She said: "Analytics is a very interesting area. In the world of Uber and Google, every engineer is very excited about this area. To come into contact with it is very exciting."