A new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed in Singapore enables about 1,100 rank-and-file workers, of which 65% are aged 40 and above, to benefit from building up their adaptive, technology and technical skills for the facilities management sector.

It has been signed between Singapore Manual & Mercantile Workers’ Union (SMMWU) and EM Services, in a bid to support the transformation and training plans for half of the company’s workforce from its township business segment, which currently manages more than 60% of Singapore’s townships.

This is part of SMMWU's efforts wherein it has been reaching out to various companies to form company training committees (CTC) that will support workforce upskilling efforts.

Job classification of employees impacted by the CTC include those working in property management (32%), technicians and supervisors (32%), admin support (29%), horticulture management, project management, and operations support (7%).

Kwek Kok Kwong, CEO of NTUC LearningHub, provided context into the sector: "Facilities management is changing rapidly due to technological innovations in building management, space requirement and infrastructure. These changes have resulted in a renewed job scope for facility managers, transforming their day-to-day duties as we look into the future. "

The initiative builds on EM Services’ existing training plans, which have seen employees being trained in Building Information Modelling (BIM) and the use of GOfm – its integrated system that digitalises the company’s work processes, allowing individual town councils to conduct active monitoring, knowledge building and crisis management through the use of big data.

Over the next three to five years, the union will also support the company’s foray into new training areas such as drone operations and data interpretation and analysis.

Tony Khoo, CEO of EM Services, said: "In a service industry like facility management, where human resource is our greatest asset, to adapt means to continuously upskill to be relevant to our customers. EM Services has been training its people all this while, and with the formation of the CTC with SMMWU, the effort of training and learning will be further emphasised and intensified."

The MOU was inked at SMMWU’s 60th Anniversary Dinner at Mandarin Orchard Hotel on Friday, 29 November 2019, witnessed by guest-of-honour Ng Chee Meng, Secretary-General of NTUC, who said: "Business transformation must go hand-in-hand with workers’ training. Higher skilled workers improve company productivity and profits, and workers also benefit in the long run with improved work prospects and wages."

The event also saw training MOUs signed with five other companies, who have pledged to set up CTCs prioritising upskilling initiatives that will benefit more than 5,300 workers collectively.  The companies (and approximate number of workers reached) are BHG Singapore (150), Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital (300), Orchid Country Club & Aranda Country Club (50), Parkway Pantai (3,800) and ST Engineering Land Systems (1,000).

David Yeo, Secretary-General of SMMWU, said, "SMMWU is committed to help our workers upskill and build their capabilities so they feel confident, competitive and relevant amidst this rapidly changing workscape. We look forward to partnering these six companies to achieve ‘win-win’ outcomes for both the businesses and workers."

Gilbert Tan, CEO of NTUC’s e2i, added: "The formation of this CTC thus comes at a timely moment to future-proof the workforce as e2i partners them in upskilling efforts."

Photo / StockUnlimited