How Singapore is reimagining upskilling

As hybrid or remote forms of work become the post-pandemic norm, a new way of managing and working is necessary. One side-effect of the pandemic is accelerated digital transformation across all industries. This has created a demand for new skill sets, making some roles redundant at the same time.

To stay relevant, it is imperative for organisations to invest in the upskilling and reskilling of their employees. Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) and Minister for Finance, Lawrence Wong addressed this issue in depth at the Singapore Economic Policy Forum this year. He stated that the city state will continue to invest in one of its most important resources, people and human capital.

In 2022, Singapore introduced new and enhanced initiatives in order to support businesses investing in new capabilities and to seize new opportunities in general. To develop a future-ready workforce, Enterprise Singapore has the SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit (SFEC) grant to encourage employers to invest in enterprise transformation and capabilities of their employees.

Singapore upskills/reskills local talent

About one in every ten Singaporeans wish to enrich their careers through learning and development, but only one in five say that their employer has provided such an opportunity in the past 12 months.

This finding is based on the bi-annual 2022 Randstand Workmonitor survey, which examines sentiments and perceptions among the local job market.

According to the survey, 73% of employees say that training is important to them;. 56% need it to improve their soft skills, 47% to improve technical skills, and 49% for career development.

If employers do not improve their upskilling or reskilling effort, the skills gap will widen at a much faster rate. At the Singapore Economic Policy Forum, Mr Wong shared that the government will focus on developing more Singaporean specialists and leaders across key economic sectors.

For example, Bosch Rexroth, a German engineering and manufacturing firm, has a regional training centre in the Jurong Innovation District. Here, they train technicians and engineers in advanced manufacturing and offer industry knowledge and business networks to support other firms, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs), in their transformation efforts.

This creates significant positive spill-over effects for Singapore’s economy as well as better opportunities and jobs for Singaporeans.

How Singapore is reimagining upskilling 

Equip and empower local labour

In today’s economic environment of constant churn and competition, Singapore is taking steps to equip and empower the local workforce. Various programmes and initiatives have been put in place to enhance the skills and capabilities of Singaporeans.

SkillsFuture, a national movement started in 2015, saw more than 660,000 Singaporeans benefiting from SkillsFuture-supported programmes last year. The SkillsFuture ecosystem will be continuously upgraded to keep up with the ever-changing economy.

Instead of attending sporadic, half-day courses that may not leave a lasting impact, more meaningful and substantial training will be provided to nurture skills effectively. Additionally, more focus will be given to mature and mid-career workers in their 40s and 50s, who are at a higher risk of career disruption as their skills may be less ‘current’.

While the growth of specialists and leaders are important, career development support is provided for across the ranks as seen with the Workfare Training Support (WTS) Scheme. This scheme subsidizes up to 95% for WTS-approved courses for Singapore citizens aged 35 years and above, who are currently employed and earning a gross monthly income of not more than SG$2000.

Companies such as Marina Bay Sands (MBS), have also taken the initiative to work with the Attractions, Resorts & Entertainment Union (AREU), to upskill and reskill more than 10,000 MBS employees. This partnership aims to leverage on technology in the redesign of jobs or work processes and curate training programmes for various tiers of workers based on their levels of digital literacy and other job requirements.

Other government programmes, such as the Skills Ignition Singapore (SISG), are also being updated by Google to ensure that Singaporeans are equipped with in-demand skills through an enhanced 12-month full-time traineeship programme. Besides SISG, Google Cloud has also partnered with the Smart Nation and Digital Government Group (SNDGG) to help Singapore reinforce its position as a leader in artificial intelligence (AI) innovation.

Training: the road to sustainable productivity

Investing in people through upskilling and reskilling will cultivate a more productive and skilled workforce. Jaya Dass, Managing Director of Permanent Recruitment at Randstand, says that organisations will also be more capable of attracting and retaining talent who seek development opportunities to grow into value-add and meaningful jobs.

Today’s economic landscape has grown volatile and unpredictable as many are expecting a period of lower growth, higher inflation, and a looming global recession. Countries around the world will be faced with tough choices on how to find balance growth amidst economic trade-offs.

Singapore continues to establish itself as a trusted and reliable hub for businesses by investing in talent and innovation throughout the pandemic. This ensures that the city state is equipped with a skilled workforce that can build the foundations of future growth and sustainable productivity.

How can Hawksford help?

We have extensive experience working with growing regional and international businesses, SMEs and entrepreneurs looking to access the major economies of Asia and Europe. If you’d like to speak to one of our experts on your business expansion plan, please get in touch today. 



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