First Industry-Based Biomedical Sciences Training Community (BMTC) Formed to Enhance Skills of Workers

BMTC to plug gaps in workers’ adaptive, technology and technical skills,
 as the industry adopts Industry 4.0 technologies

  1. 17 September 2019, Tuesday - The National Trades Union Congress’ (NTUC) e2i (Employment and Employability Institute) and Chemical Industries Employees’ Union (CIEU) formed the Biomedical Sciences Training Community (BMTC) today. This is a first-of-its-kind industry and tripartite effort, to skill up workers in the areas of adaptive, technological and technical skills, as the industry rapidly moves into Industry 4.0.
  1. Singapore is one of the key strategic manufacturing sites in the world for the pharmaceutical and biologics industry and hosts eight of the world’s top ten pharmaceutical and biologics companies. Employing over 22,000 workers, there is a growing need and urgency to skill up these workers, as adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies accelerates in this industry.

Role of the Biomedical Sciences Training Community (BMTC)

  1. The Biomedical Sciences Training Community (BMTC) is a collaborative, multi-partner network to enable workers to update their knowledge and skills. In working closely with the industry, NTUC’s e2i and CIEU have observed an increasing demand to provide workers access to short but intensive courses in a variety of disciplines. This is to enhance workers’ skillsets in the digital and emerging Industry 4.0 technologies and to hone their adaptive skills, and for mid-level management executives to develop their careers.
  1. The need for adaptive skills for leadership positions is in demand. The industry is rapidly adopting Industry 4.0 technologies such as process automation, Internet-of-Thing (IoT), data analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI). There is a need to remain competitive while strengthening and localising their presence in Singapore. Currently, some middle and senior management possess strong technical skills but lack adaptive skills, which are crucial to the success of leading teams in the adoption and implementation of new technologies. The CTCs can leverage the Labour Movement’s Digital Readiness Framework (BBIP) and Advanced Manufacturing Framework (PIDA) to map out training roadmaps for different worker groups in the company, help them navigate through a step-by-step guide to raise their skills and competencies, and enable workers to be confident in embracing Industry 4.0. Companies can also harness NTUC’s e2i’s U Leap Enterprise – a closed, private platform that enables companies to customise and curate bite-sized training for their respective worker groups within their company.

Project Zodiac – Biomedical Sciences Leadership Programme

  1. One unique aspect of BMTC is the leadership training component. It aims to strengthen a strong Singaporean core for middle and upper management positions. Project Zodiac, a Biomedical Sciences Leadership Programme, was designed to build up the capabilities of our local workforce comprising psychology, neuroscience and social emotional intelligence.
  1. Together with the Biopharmaceutical Manufacturers’ Advisory Council (BMAC), NTUC’s e2i and Forest Wolf, the first Project Zodiac workshop kicked off in March 2019 and have, thus far, benefited close to 100 middle and senior management from 14 companies. The programme consists of a two-day retreat to develop self-awareness and adaptive skills such as conflict management, effective communication and problem solving and resilience. It ends with a 60-day challenge where they apply their acquired skills into real-life projects at their workplace.

Biomedical Sciences Training Community (BMTC)

  1. The BMTC is a tripartite effort to bring the sector-based training community using a three-pronged approach:Leadership Training
    Leadership programmes to groom mid-level management executives with leadership qualities. This is achieved through Project Zodiac or other types of leadership training, which apply new and customised methodologies such as psychology, neuroscience and social emotional intelligence. Project Zodiac learners can continue to participate in online learning by accessing a close-door private platform ‘Zodiac Online’ to access leadership training resources.

    I4.0 Knowledge
    To continuously build Industry 4.0 (I4.0) competencies in workers through Labour Movement’s Advanced Manufacturing Framework (PIDA). In partnership with Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Republic Polytechnic (RP), this features a series of bite-sized seminars, which come with training certification.

    Learning Digitalisation
    Companies and workers can utilise the Labour Movement’s Digital Readiness Framework (BBIP) to enhance their digital literacy and job industry specific skills. Workers can also access the Labour Movement’s mobile learning app – U Leap, to learn bite-sized modules on-the-go. NTUC’s e2i and NTUC LearningHub have also developed a half-day I4.0 Resilience Workshop on why digital transformation matters for companies and their employees.

Inaugural Biomedical Sciences Symposium

  1. These new initiatives were announced by Mr. Ng Chee Meng, NTUC’s Secretary-General at the inaugural Biomedical Sciences Symposium: Talent 4.0 - The Age of Learning Ecosystems, held at the Devan Nair Institute for Employment and Employability. The event highlighted strategies to unlocking the hidden potential of human learning and innovative organisation development with speakers from Edwards Lifesciences (Singapore), Forest Wolf, Republic Polytechnic and A*STAR. The event also saw awards presented to the top five graduates from Project Zodiac.
  1. Mr. Ng Chee Meng, Secretary-General of NTUC said, “Singapore hosts eight of the top ten pharmaceutical and biologics companies in the world, so the demand for skilled manpower in both technical and management positions is high. The BMTC addresses both the technology hardware needed for transformation and skills needed, including adaptive skills like effective communication, conflict management, and emotional intelligence, which are important to the industry. The BMTC can build a strong Singaporean core for such roles, current and new, as we move towards Industry 4.0 in the biomedical field. In the last decade, medical technology manufacturing firms have moved to Singapore in significant numbers and this industry is poised for more growth, as Industry 4.0 kicks into gear. NTUC aims to develop the Singapore worker with relevant training for these jobs, including those in management through this effort.”
  1. Chief Executive Officer of e2i and Assistant Director-General of NTUC, Mr. Gilbert Tan said, “With our close network and direct engagement with the biomedical sciences industry management, tripartite partners and workers, NTUC’s e2i is well-positioned to be the aggregator to test bed and implement new programmes. The BMTC is an example of a concerted effort to coordinate collaborative pro-active efforts between various stakeholders and translate them into real, tangible actions to benefit workers. The three-pronged approach in Leadership Training, I4.0 Knowledge and Learning Digitalisation aims to overcome training challenges and bring new ways of training and learning to keep pace with industry transformation.”
  1. Vice President & Site Director, Pharma Supply Chain Singapore, GSK and Co-chair of Biopharmaceutical Manufacturers Advisory Council (BMAC), Mr. Lim Hock Heng said, “BMTC is a good initiative that can benefit workers and grow the Biomedical & Pharmaceutical sector in Singapore. As part of GSK’s pharmaceuticals supply chain, the development of our workforce is a priority because our people are the real drivers behind innovations. Continued upskilling of our people in this fast-changing operating environment will ensure that our company remains competitive. I believe BMTC will bring about more learning gateways and customised training content to benefit the healthcare industry.”
  1. President of Chemical Industries Employees’ Union (CIEU), G. Rajendran: “The union works closely with the companies and workers to support them to drive transformation and ensure they are not left behind. We will continue to ramp up efforts under BMTC to mobilise workers for training and ensure better wages, welfare and prospects even as the company transforms.”
  1. General Manager of Alcon Asian Singapore Manufacturing & Logistics, Mr. Mark Chua, “As our company is moving towards I4.0, we find that having an initiative such as the Biomedical Science Training Community will benefit workers and the industry. It will benefit our employees to develop their technical, leadership and digitalisation skills.”
  1. General Manager of Alcon Asian Singapore Manufacturing & Logistics, Mr. Mark Chua, “As our company is moving towards I4.0, we find that having an initiative such as the Biomedical Science Training Community will benefit workers and the industry. It will benefit our employees to develop their technical, leadership and digitalisation skills.”