With training, you have to look at the long term benefits, Sylvia Choo, executive secretary, Singapore Industrial & Services Employees' Union (SISEU), told the media at the launch of PSB Academy's City Campus at Marina Square.
At the launch of the new campus, PSB Academy signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a scholarship with the SISEU.
The agreement will support over 100 workers over three years as they pursue their higher education with PSB Academy and their seven university partners from the UK and Australia.
Spanning over 100,000 square feet, on that premise, PSB plans to introduce new programmes that focus on skills needed to enable graduates to contribute to Singapore’s industry transformation maps.
Human Resources spoke to Sylvia Choo, executive secretary, Singapore Industrial & Services Employees' Union, to find out the state of employee training in Singapore.
Q: How do you think employers in Singapore fare when it comes to up-skilling and re-training their employees?
In most cases employers will train their workers especially for functional skills. We are seeing that employers are more receptive to support training and we want such progressive mindsets and companies.
With training, you have to look at the long term benefits of training your workers. Investing in training is a long term asset because it is a competitive advantage to have a skilled workforce - the training will drive productivity, give your workers a more fulfilling career, and at the same time, I think it is a very good tool for retention.
So there are actually many long term benefits of investing in training workers, not just for functional skills, but also developmental courses as well as courses that you foresee will help them in their future tasks and career progression.
Q: One common challenge is that employees don’t find the time to go for training, so how what advice do you have for them? And how can their employers help with that?
On the employer’s part, I think employers can help staff define and chart the direction - show them what are some of the skills needed, or new exposure they need.
Employers can also be supportive by giving staff things like exam leave, flexible work arrangements, scholarship and training grants. For example, some companies have a form of flexi benefits in place, while others actually help top up employees’ SkillsFuture credit on top of what they already have to support training.
At the same time, employers also have to give staff the opportunity to put their training into practice.
On the worker’s part, they have to make time for training and take ownership. Training need not be the traditional classroom style. With all these technological advancements, training can also be acquired online.
Another main challenge is knowing what type of training is beneficial. Individuals shouldn’t take a course just because it is popular. They need to be alert.
At the end of the day, we want to be relevant. We don’t want to take up a course and spend money only to realise that it is not going to be useful. We want to be just in time to be able to take on the job that we are interested in and there is opportunity for us to grow.
Q: Any advice for determining which skills are necessary for the future?
Skills like cognitive thinking is very important. You want to make sure you can look at things and analyse them, so these are some of the basic skills that everyone needs to have.
Apart from that, there are the soft skills and technical skills that you need for the job.
From left to right: Derrick Chang, CEO of PSB Academy; Viva Sinniah, executive chairman of PSB Academy; Chan Chun Sing; Joanne Chua, president of SISEU; Philip Lee, general secretary of SISEU; and Sylvia Choo, executive secretary of SISEU
Lead photo / 123RF Photo / PSB Academy