Mr Gilbert TanChief Executive Officer, e2i
CEO Statement 20162016 has been an exhilarating ride; some may feel like it has been akin to riding on a roller coaster while others may have felt the calm of the ocean before meeting the storm. The business world is experiencing a huge transformation and disruption, in view of significant technological advancements. In competing to be better, organisations of all sizes and types seek to take advantage of new digital opportunities. Singapore is largely affected by the global economy, and affected by events such as “Brexit”, aftermath of elections in key Eurozone economies, whereby there have been numerous uncertainties at both economic and political levels. Such weigh in on business and consumer confidence naturally has an impact on our local businesses, economy and labour landscape. The turbulent changes hit salaried employees the most as the need for reskilling and relook of career paths become a necessity.
Job matching and placementTo increase matching channels in the challenging employment market of 2016, we also started virtual and blended career fairs to better reach out and connect Singaporeans with good jobs. The introduction of virtual elements (such as webinars, online screening tools like gamification and video resume workshops) open more avenues, especially for SMEs with suitable jobs but may not have the time and resources to participate in on-site career fairs. The blended career fair approach enhances job search opportunity and renders more employability assistance for job seekers. e2i is the first mover to pilot this and will continue to expand this approach to more sectors. The TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) Career Services Day was one such event to bring job seekers and employers together with the objective to bring the Infocomm Technology (ICT) profession to the next stage of skills development and career readiness for the future economy. Visitors could tap on career advice at the Career Discovery Area, experience a virtual career fair, gain tips about creating their visume, as well as participate in a series of career mentoring and networking sessions. The event was part of TeSA Integrated Career Services programme, possible with tripartite collaborations between NTUC, e2i, Singapore Computer Society, Info-communications Media Development Authority, SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) and Workforce Singapore(WSG).
As the business world experiences significant digital transformation, e2i is developing new initiatives to help our workers adapt and progress. Through our extensive network and tapping on the Labour Movement’s endeavours, we are building the U Career Network (UCN), made up of professionals, community leaders and partners to provide information, career direction and support our students and workers at each stage of their career needs. At the backbone of our UCN is our Practising Employability Coach framework which provides a structured pathway to recognise and improve competencies of employability coaches, allowing them to progress and provide professional services. Through 4 groups of enablers– our Employability Coaches; Associate Coaches; Employability Ambassadors; and Industry Mentors, we leverage on UCN to impart knowledge of labour market, job search resources and career guidance advisory to Singaporeans in order for them to make informed choices on their career transitions, and to stay relevant and resilient in a fast-changing labour market.
Training for the present and the future2016 brings into focus one’s training and upskilling needs, amidst a year interjected with disruption to traditional jobs and creation of new ones. In support of building a strong Singaporean Core across industries, e2i continues our endeavours under the national SkillsFuture initiatives in a multi-pronged approach. Our SkillsFuture Credit Connect (SFCC) workshops enable the participants to gain a better understanding of useful skill sets and training that can help them realise their career aspirations. As part of continuously creating solutions for Singaporeans' skills and job needs, the SFCC was recently enhanced to incorporate an assessment on work preference which allow participants to be more aware of their preferred jobs and the sectors so that they can acquire relevant skills to do well on the job. We are also exploring with SSG on a new training programme targeted to equip workers with knowledge of common technology such as digital tools and data analysis. Through this programme, we hope to cultivate and instil innovative and adaptable mindsets in our workers, preparing them now and for the future economy.
In 2016, we rolled out over 200 professional development programmes. This was possibly due to the deepening partnerships forged with associations, companies and unions. To equip professionals with specialised sector-specific learning by industry experts, we conducted 88 masterclasses in 2016, across diverse sectors such as Manufacturing, Cyber Security and F&B.
In support of the Industry Transformation Programme announced during Budget 2016 in Parliament, e2i is embarking on industry-wide collaborations by working with industry practitioners and professionals to build learning communities to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and best practices. The objective is to pilot new ways of learning for working professionals, speed up the learning curve of workers and create the right environment for meaningful sharing that can propel collaboration, knowledge acquisition and innovation.
e2i is also helping union members to upskill using the NTUC-Education and Training Fund (NETF) through the Union Training Assistance Programme (UTAP) by defraying training cost by up to $250 a year. We saw through a total of 18,960 applications with $1.8m disbursed for more than 2,000 courses in diverse fields in 2016. To better prepare our people, particularly PMETs to meet the needs of future jobs, we have also been working closely with training partners and Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) on blended (classroom and online) and online courses to cater learning needs of adult learners. We have since supported more than 160 online and blended courses from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore University of Social Sciences (previously known as SIM University), Udemy and other training partners. With all the IHLs onboard NETF, we will be deepening our collaborations with them to support and develop training programs to assist working people in keeping up with technological and industry developments.
With our endeavours in training and development, we hope to assist Singaporeans to upskill and encourage them to take on new pathways to build new careers for better employment and employability. We continue our upstream efforts to reach out to youths to bring career advisory services to help students understand different industries and prepare for jobs before graduation. We have in place customised initiatives with all 14 IHLs, and plan to broaden and enhance these partnerships. These initiatives include career fairs & placement activities, workshops, industry talks, learning journeys, and technology enabled learning with UTAP support. Through these, the workers of tomorrow can benefit from e2i services at each stage of their career planning, from pre-graduation to post-retirement.
Productivity and improving quality of jobsSince its launch in 2010, e2i has through the Inclusive Growth Programme (IGP) identified potential areas for productivity improvements to benefit both businesses and workers. The fund supports automation, process redesign and training with the aim to raise productivity and share gains with workers. In 2016, we are heartened to have assisted 1,959 companies on 2,642 productivity projects. KidZania Singapore, an indoor children’s edutainment theme park in Sentosa was one such example where they collaborated with e2i from recruitment of staff to putting in place initiatives to boost productivity. It started with a two-day dedicated job fair to recruit the Team Leads and ‘Zupervisors’, who were then trained and primed to receive its eager young audience even before the park was open. With the implementation of technology through e2i’s IGP, KidZania is able to reduce labour intensity and improve the operation efficiency of the theme park.
In the push for higher productivity, e2i is equally committed to encourage employers to make work safer, easier and smarter, with special focus on mature workers under WorkPro. This is a tripartite programme supported by the Ministry of Manpower and WSG to strengthen the Singaporean Core through Better Jobs, Better Workers, and Better Employers. Under this programme, employers can integrate an older workforce and grow their businesses by tapping on the Job Redesign Grant or Age Management Grant to adopt progressive practices to attract and retain older workers. We have assisted more than 20,000 workers since the programme commenced in April 2013.
As Solutions Provider and EnablerWith an extensive network of partners, we are in an advantageous and unique position to collaborate and offer solutions that empower or benefit businesses, workers and the community.
One of the examples was how e2i has been working closely with the pre-school industry for recruitment, training and productivity needs. The industry’s concern was hiring and retention of cooks which spurred us to partner ASSETS to work on the first-of-its-kind centralised meal catering project that will pave the way for more industry-led solutions to help the growing childcare sector. Now childcare centres under this scheme can enjoy warm and nutritious food (approved by Health Promotion Board) and centre staff can focus better on caring for the children’s education and welfare.
At the tripartite level, we saw fruition in the launch of the Singapore Bus Academy (SGBA). This came about when Singapore Government implemented the Bus Contracting Model to improve transport reliability and service standards. With additional bus fleet, a 30% increase in manpower needs is expected over the next 5 years. As a solutions enabler, e2i has been working with the Land Transport Authority (LTA), Public Transport Operators, the National Transport Workers’ Union, and WSG on manpower strategies to attract, retain and train more local Bus Captains. To upskill bus professionals and attract more to join the bus industry, e2i worked with LTA as joint programme managers to set up the SGBA that provides centralised training for all bus professionals. We hope to extend training to other bus industry workers such as technicians and planners, and aim to professionalise not just Bus Captains, but also key vocations such as bus technicians and service controllers.
We have a critical role as the integrator creating employment and employability solutions for companies and individuals, and will continue to help our Singaporean workers, by tapping on our networks within and around the Labour Movement, in our strive to empower more workers with better jobs for better lives.