As a small and open economy, Singapore is more susceptible to uncertainties in the global political and economic landscape. We are also either benefitting or being disrupted by digital and technological advancements happening around us at work or at home.
To maintain our competitiveness, we will need to keep investing into our country’s key asset – our workers, through continuous training and skills upgrading. This has been and will continue to be an important part of the National Trades Union Congress’ (NTUC) advocacy work.
This is why NTUC LearningHub (LHUB) was launched in 2004 – to help train workers, equip them with new skills so that they can overcome challenges and take advantage of new opportunities. This will enable them to enjoy better wages, welfare and most importantly, work prospects.
Over the years, LHUB has been playing a key role in partnering companies and workers to ride through various challenges. During the Asian Financial Crisis in 2008, many Singaporean workers attended the Skills Programme for Upgrading and Resilience programme. As a result of them undergoing raining during the downturn, they were able to find better jobs when the economy recovered in 2010.
Over the last few years, LHUB has also been supporting the nationwide SkillsFuture movement to help prepare workers for the future economy by equipping them with basic digital skills through the SkillsFuture for Digital Workplace programme. Most recently at the NTUC National Delegates’ Conference 2019, I shared that NTUC must continue to be representative of and relevant to workers in Singapore’s new economy. We can do so through innovation and one of the areas we must innovate in is our training model.
The direction and pace at which technology is evolving create disruption and opportunities too! This means that our workers must embrace lifelong learning to keep up or even move ahead with the times. This is also the genesis behind NTUC starting the Company Training Committees (CTCs) in early 2019 to push for workers’ training at the institutional level and ensure that our workers’ training needs are not forgotten. Comprising union leaders, company’s management partners, as well as training partners like LHUB, the CTC will first help to accelerate workers’ acceptance of new technology. Secondly, it will help accelerate the adoption of technology at the workplace. As businesses can only transform at the pace of the workers in their workforce, by partnering both together, the adoption of technology can be done in tandem, thereby, saving on downtime while capitalising on new technologies. Thirdly, this will accelerate the actualisation of the value of technology and translate it into tangible benefits for both the company and workers.
For companies who might not know how to start their transformation journey, LHUB has introduced the CTC Starter Kit to equip companies and their workers with relevant skills for Industry 4.0 and beyond. It is an easy-to-implement starter package comprising eleven programmes under three core competencies needed to make transformation real for companies and workers (read more about this on the next page). To our management partners, NTUC, LHUB and our unions stand ready to work with you and support you in your workers’ training needs! To our workers, take charge of your learning today! There is no better time to go for training so take a small step today to upgrade yourself and this can culminate into a big difference for tomorrow!
Ng Chee Meng
National Trades Union Congress