MEDIA professionals in Singapore can look forward to more upgrading opportunities - both in pursuing a higher qualification and in training.

Three new diploma programmes were launched by the Workforce Development Agency (WDA) and the Singapore Media Academy (SMA) yesterday. 

To start late next year, the programmes will cover film and television production, film and television scripting, and business management in interactive media.

The initiative, announced by Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts Yaacob Ibrahim, coincided with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU), in which 21 of the media industry's biggest players pledged to provide more training for their staff.

They include media company MediaCorp, interactive media firm Ambrosia Communications and digital marketing agency Bain & Mercer Group.

Dr Yaacob said: 'Beyond infrastructure and financial support, our most valuable asset is our human talent. Today's MOU signing is a milestone achievement to further strengthen the capabilities of the media workforce.'

Under the MOU, companies, with the WDA's help, will identify potential workers for upgrading and then train them so they can stay relevant and employable.

The WDA will also subsidise up to 70 per cent of the course fees and provide an absentee payroll to encourage employers to send staff for training during office hours.

While talent development in the media sector - provided by the SMA - has been ongoing since 2008, the academy has announced its aim to double the number of media professionals trained in the next three years to over 2,000.

To achieve this, it will work more closely with industry bodies, source commercial projects for its trainees to enter the media line and introduce a larger suite of courses catered for the media industry's needs.

'The programmes that we are rolling out today are not only catering for new entrants. There are programmes, on a modular basis, that also cater for in-employment professionals in the industry,' said Mr Azzli Jamain, director of the WDA's creative and professional services division.

'Working together with our partner SMA over the past two years, we have close to 40 modules to meet different training needs.'