Roundup and photos: Training & Development Asia 2017, Singapore

Roundup and photos: Training & Development Asia 2017, Singapore

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Organised by Human Resources, Training & Development Asia 2017, Singapore was back for its fourth year in on 17 and 18 August 2017. Held at the Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore; this year’s conference was attended by more than 160 with speakers from Tesla, NTUC, Siemens, and more unveiling the secrets to developing best practice corporate learning strategies.

Day 1

Kickstarting the conference was Richard Wentworth-Ping, owner and CEO of Wentworth People, with his opening speech as he welcomed all delegates, sponsors and speakers.

Sharing with delegates on the agenda for the day, he said: “One of the highlights this year is that the on-stage case studies and keynote presentation will be supplemented by round-table discussions led by our audience, covering topics such as learning technologies and innovation, high potential development, building a learner centered approach, and more.”

Introducing the first speaker, Beth Davies, director, learning and development, Tesla took the stage with her presentation on embracing the modern learner, which she explained is not just the millennials.

Sharing more on what motivates them, and what can be done to develop their learning, she said: “What we need to do is help our people match the learning abilities map to the stages of their career.”

Beth Davies

Sharing a more local perspective on L&D, the next speaker was a well-known face in Singapore’s labour circles - Patrick Tay, assistant secretary-general, of NTUC. In his keynote on the outlook of future jobs, skills and training in Singapore, he reminded HR leaders to be "ready, relevant, resilient” and packed with “agility, ability, adaptability” when it comes to staying ahead of the learning curve.

Next up, Tony Latimer, MCC BCC, master executive coach at Asia-Pacific Corporate Coach Institute took the stage as he addressed a question where many of HR leaders have voiced out – how to adapt to the evolution of the workforce, the organisation and appraisals. He reminded HR leaders that the life of a manager, at any level, doesn’t have to be the stressful, overwhelming, nor an out-of-balance experience. He commented: “Sometimes all it takes is for management to allow the people to own their jobs.“

View more photos of the event here.

Before delegates headed for a quick coffee break, they were engaged in a panel discussion on creating a high impact learning and development culture. Welcoming back Wentworth-Ping as the moderator; the panellists included David Jackson, APAC regional head of talent development, corporate and investment bank, Deutsche Bank; Tim Raw, head of client services, Impact; Karina Cuello, learning and development director, APAC, JLL; and Michael Haberzettl, head of human resources, ASEAN, Siemens.

In this discussion, Cuello questioned delegates on how they can add value to their workforce. She shared: “It lies in being more agile. (We need) to try and find tools that will engage with our employees in a relevant fashion,” as she addressed the changing needs of the modern learner.

After the quick break, delegates were welcomed back with a stirring panel discussion on creating an environment of high performance to lay the foundation for company success.

Moderated by Makarand Tare, chief talent officer, Asia Pacific, McCann Worldgroup; the panellists included Theresa Goh, managing director of 360 dynamics and board member, NVPC, National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre; Dylan Choong, regional human resources director, Southeast Asia, Sephora; Brandon Lew, vice-president, human resources, T-Systems Singapore; and NC Prakash, regional human resources head (Asia Pacific, Middle East, Africa), Rohde & Schwarz.

When it comes to building a high-performance team, Choong highlighted to delegates that “putting a team of high-potentials together does not necessarily make a high-performance team.”

On the other hand, when it comes to motivating HiPos, Leow remarked: “Nothing demotivates a staff more than seeing their colleagues cruise the day and still get their bonus.”


Taking the stage next was Ida Huang, head of BASF learning campus, Asia Pacific with her case study on aligning the goals of your programme in line with your employees’ job progression, at BASF now steps on stage.

When asked about the boundaries between having an internal coach versus a manager coaching staff, she said: “As an internal coach, we make sure there’s no conflict of interest. The coaching relationship is confidential to the internal coach; and it is important that we don’t divulge.”

Delegates then took a quick break before jumping right back into a session on best practices for connecting learning and performance for accelerated development with Marieke van Raaij, Director, Solution Consulting APAC, KNOLSKAPE.

Sharing that 48% of women and 39% men felt disengaged at work, she said: “We need new age platforms and approach to engage today’s workforce.”

As day one of Training & Development Asia 2017, Singapore comes to an end, delegates participated in a round table discussion where they were engaged in a 40-minute discussion followed by a summarisation by one representative from each table. The first day’s session will hear some of the best practices for bridging training initiatives and bottom-line benefits.

Day Two

As delegates returned for day two of Training & Development Asia 2017, Singapore at Shangri-La, Hotel Singapore; the first presentation was by  Eric Yim, global head of learning, Shell business operations. On that day, he shared a case study on integrating change management and leadership development for front line leaders.

He said: “Different organisations have different personalities – different DNA that they’re known for. That leads you to your (company’s) competency.”

“At Shell, employees take accountability for their own learning; and we are very supportive of pro-active learning,” he added.

The next speaker leads leadership and business skills, learning analytics and coaching globally. In addition, her team also provides consultation for geographical and category talent teams for customised solutions.

Betty Lau, global learning director, leadership and business skills, Unilever shared her expert opinion on using design thinking to drive learning transformation. From the feedback her employees shared, she revealed that top three pain points of staff were long conference calls, no clear execution, and no clear decision-maker during these calls.

On that note, she recommended: “We have to be empathic. We need to empathise with the learner – on their objectives, interests, and experience.”

Betty Lau

Following that, the next speaker was someone who took over as head of learning and development at OCBC Bank in 2015, to oversee the strategic partnership to businesses and the development of high-impact learning interventions to drive people performance.

Addressing overall learning budgets to be more cost-effective by developing flexible, mobile and convenient training methods, Yap Aye Wee, SVP, head of learning and development at OCBC Bank, said: “We don’t have infinite resources, but we do know about learning. And the learning experience should be relevant, simple, accessible, and engaging.”

View more photos of the event here.

Before jumping into a lunch break, delegates were engaged in a very exciting keynote with Marako Marcus, managing consultant, Right Management. In his presentation on identifying and developing agile leaders, he shared: “Some of the attributed of a strategic leader include being futuristic, having an external focus, a big picture orientation, accompanied with a priority on networking and collaboration.”

Additionally, Marcus also shared that “market leadership comes from being superb at one, and good enough at the other two – operational efficiency (best total cost), product leadership (best total product), and customer intimacy (best total solution).”


After a hearty lunch break, delegates participated in a round-table discussion on developing the workforce without a learning and developing budget. Following that was a panel discussion on one of the hottest topics – women in leadership.

Joining the moderator Beth Davies, director, learning and development, Tesla; are panellists - Indrajati Nugroho, director, human resources, South Asia, Abbvie; Susan Cheong, managing director and head of POSB, DBS Bank; Aye Wee Yap, SVP, head of learning and development, OCBC Bank; and Grace Wong, vice-president and head of human resources, SEA and Oceania, Samsung.

When it comes to women being given top opportunities in Singapore, Cheong remarked: “Female leaders are taking up business development positions, and not just traditional roles. This is in contrast to what how it was when I first joined, where these roles are male-dominated.”

On the same note, Wee recounted her experience of having to previously report to a gentleman in management. She shared: “He said to me: I have two daughters, and when they get into the working world - I want them to have the opportunities that I am giving you” - showing that opportunities do happen in business for women.

View more photos of the event here.

Following a quick coffee break, Gill White, commercial and capability director, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development; took the stage on exploring “future-focused learning”. Sharing some changes a learning practitioner may wish to make for themselves, their function and their organisation, she revealed: “The science behind learning design is the brain and AGES (Attention, Generation, Emotion, and Spacing).”

Gill White

Moving forward, delegates were engaged in a series of fun and quick case studies. First up, Angelo Pinto regional head of learning and development and has been the head of the APAC campus for BNP Paribas. He remarked the BNP Paribas’ vision includes “employee value proposition, alignment to business strategy, needs of employees and emerging L&D trends.”

Next up in the series, Koh Joo Khim, director, Office of Human Resources, Nanyang Technological University spoke about the leading university’s learning & development initiative, which had helped them secure an award at the prestigious HR Excellence awards.

With that, we ended Training & Development Asia 2017, Singapore with special thanks to all our speakers, delegates and sponsors.

Gold Sponsors

  • ACCI – Asia-Pacific Corporate Coach institute
  • Right Management

Silver Sponsors

  • Company of Good
  • Impact


  • British Council
  • London School of Business and Finance
  • Marketing Institute of Singapore
  • Montigo Resorts
  • Rutgers Business School Asia Pacific

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