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New e2i campus to help more workers

2015 was a very eventful year for Singapore with the celebration of SG50 and our pioneers, mourning the passing of Singapore’s first Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew, hosting the SEA Games, etc. There were also exciting changes for Singapore’s employability landscape with the launch of SkillsFuture, the growing pool of Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians (PMETs) in our workforce, and more support for career coaching and upgrading.

e2i (Employment and Employability Institute) is gearing up to help Singaporean workers prepare for future skills and future jobs, building on our expertise and capabilities in career coaching, skills upgrading, job matching, job re-design and productivity solutions. Since 2008, we have assisted over 470,000 workers with better skills and better jobs through partnering workers and companies to close skills and productivity gaps which arise from restructuring of industries, new job requirements, and individual career aspirations.

We are excited to share our contributions and key highlights for 2015 in assisting 81, 400 workers through placement (9,500), training (50,400) and productivity initiatives (21, 500).

In driving employment and employability programmes in financial year 2015, e2i disbursed a total of $ 41 million in government grants, out of which $12 million was disbursed for training allowances and course fees.

Placement and career opportunities
e2i’s placement initiatives reach out to all segments of workers from rank and file to professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs). This is done through a spectrum of job fairs, Place-and-Train programmes, and direct referrals and through collaborations with industry partners and employers.

In order to strategically target different worker groups and employer needs, e2i hosted more than 100 job fairs to provide matching opportunities. These included monthly community fairs at residential areas, ‘Workpro’ for matured and back-to-work workers, career fairs for PMETs, industry-specific and company-dedicated job fairs. At these fairs, a variety of job vacancies were offered for diverse sectors such as Aerospace, Healthcare, Hospitality, Food and Beverage, Banking & Accountancy, IT & Infocomm, Precision Engineering, Marine, Transport and Logistics.

To generate interest and opportunities for training and job opportunities, e2i’s signature event Employability Fair was once again organised. For 2015, the Employability Fair was extended from 2 weeks to a whole month long of activities – totalling 100 events such as career fairs, training and networking sessions and lunch talks. The Employability Fair attracted 6000 jobseekers and upgraders, and 500 participating employers. 5,000 workers, employers and training providers also pledged towards raising employability and skills.

Upstream efforts in reaching youths is also a focus of e2i in order to bring career services to help students understand different industries and be more informed about career pathways. In 2015 e2i established links between ITE and Polytechnic students with employers, shared on career planning and preparation for first jobs, and created interactive tools such as the “Profiling Tree” to enable students to understand themselves more and the types of jobs which may suit them.

e2i partners employers in industry specific recruitment exercises to open up more job opportunities for Singaporeans. In the attractions sector, newly opened theme park KidZania had 150 vacancies from front to back-of–house operations open to Singaporeans. A dedicated job fair was held at e2i which saw many turn up for role-play auditions and on-site interview sessions with KidZania’s recruiting staff. Further to recruitment efforts, e2i also worked with Kidzania on several training and productivity initiatives in the effort to improve operations and job performance.

Being a niched sector, the Equine (Horse) Industry also saw the need to increase awareness of its jobs in order to hire more Singaporeans into the industry and groom more locals to take on future supervisory roles. To boost job interest and career progression pathways, e2i collaborated with employers in the sector and the Equestrian Federation of Singapore to drive online awareness and interest among Singaporeans, and organised a career fair held at the horse stables which drew many local jobseekers to the event.

With Singapore’s aircraft fleet expected to triple by 2030, e2i saw a strong demand for skilled aerospace professionals, especially technicians. Since 2010, e2i and WDA have been supporting the Aerospace industry to recruit and train aerospace technicians under the Place and Train programme which supports each technician to undertake up to 12 months of traineeship with the hiring company. The programme has enabled more locals to enter and stay in this industry and garnered strong support from the industry with employers such as Singapore Aero Engine Services Pte Ltd (SAESL), Singapore Jamco Services and SIA Engineering Company. Through the programme 500 Aerospace Technicians were placed.

Training efforts remain consistently high
Training initiatives at e2i are aimed at PMEs and Rank-and-file workers to develop both their deep (vocational-specific) and horizontal (transferable and broad-based) skills to enhance their employability. For jobseekers, there are weekly employability workshops to prepare them with job search skills which include job market information, resume writing and interview techniques.

Under e2i’s initiatives, 50,400 working people upgraded their skills through training in 2015. 39% were equipped with job search & employability skills and 61% were upgraded in vocational skills across sectors.

e2i is constantly creating solutions to improve companies’ jobs and workers’ skills. We started Master Classes for professionals to have specialised sector-specific learning by experts. 89 Master Classes were organised ranging from Sustainable Facilities Management, Biologics and Process Technology to Sake Master Classes. These allowed participants to learn about the emerging dynamics and industry shifts, and to learn from local and international best practices.

e2i’s Professional Development programmes continue to make an impact in 2015. The “Sustainable Training Roadmap for Taxi Industry” in close partnership with the National Taxi Association (NTA) has as of end 2015 seen taxi operators committed to train 3,700 workers. The setting up of Singapore’s first Bus Training and Evaluation Centre (BTEC) in collaboration with SMRT Corporation Ltd provided a pathway for meaningful employment and skills for Singaporean bus professionals through a progressive wage model for staff in SMRT Buses, which charts out career pathways and give staff the opportunity to regularly up skill themselves to keep pace with the industry. Other Professional Development programmes held include training for HR Professionals in Big Data, Analytics, International Business and Social Media and Multi-skilling programmes for the hotel industry.

e2i’s Union Training Assistance Programme (UTAP) scheme also aims to promote skills-upgrading for union members. There are more than 2000 courses approved under UTAP, of which the popular courses include Taxi Vocational License Course, WSQ Basic Licensing Units course (for Security officers), WSQ Workplace Literacy Comprehensive programme and Project Management Professional course. In 2015, over $1.87 million was disbursed across 14,100 applications under UTAP. In 2015, e2i launched the UTAP SG50 campaign to celebrate Singapore’s Jubilee Year where 5,920 union members enjoyed 100% unfunded course fee support, up to $250 on their first UTAP claim in 2015.

e2i’s Place-and-Train (PnT) programmes enable companies to hire workers first and provide them with structured training to equip them with relevant skills. 2,300 job seekers were assisted through e2i’s Place-and-Train (PnT) and Train-and-Place (TnP) programmes. This included PnT programmes for industries such as Aerospace, Carpentry, Early Childhood, Hospitality, Maritime and Facilities Management.

Productivity-led wage increase
e2i aims to enhance the lives of low wage working people through better wages. To make jobs better jobs, wages must rise in accordance with productivity growth so that wage increase remains sustainable. This is where e2i’s Inclusive Growth Programme (IGP) comes in to help companies, especially SMEs, with their productivity projects and job re-design, so that their workers’ jobs become of higher value and in turn work ‘Easier, Safer and Smarter’.

Since its launch in August 2010, the Inclusive Growth Programme (IGP), through its process improvements, automation and job re-design, has enabled local low-wage workers to get a share of the productivity gains through an 18% average increase in total wages. As of end 2015, e2i has committed to support over 2,400 productivity projects from various sectors such as F&B, Cleaning, Security, General Manufacturing and Accommodation, setting to benefit 100,100 workers. 69% of these projects are from SME companies, given e2i’s continual efforts in partnering industry associations and solution providers to outreach to and engage SMEs to push for higher productivity. These productivity projects have brought about notable improvements to company processes and the jobs of working people.

Companies like Tai Chong Kok Confectionary Hue Kee and Kin Teck Tong benefitted greatly from productivity improvements implemented. As a mooncake manufacturer, Tai Chong Kok found that their manual process of food packaging and sealing was inconsistent, which led to food wastage. They experienced a challenge during peak periods where higher outputs of mooncakes per worker was required and where it was time-consuming for the manual hand-washing of their utensils. By tapping on IGP in June 2015 for 12 types of equipment, it led to easier food preparation, increased storage capacity and improved work efficiency for their workers. Kin Teck Tong TCM Medical Centre has been in business for 50 years in serving and healing patients through manual procedures. The company partnered with e2i on the acquiring of machines that had helped their therapists and physicians to attend to more patients while other staff could pick up new skills with the machines. As a result work efficiency saw an overall improvement of 50% in all clinical operations.

Enabler for SkillsFuture
The importance and support for skills upgrading is reinforced with SkillsFuture. With the launch of the national SkillsFuture scheme and credits for Singaporeans, e2i started weekly SkillFuture Credit Connect workshops to help clients with skills profiling to narrow down the types of training they could individually focus on, and guide them on how to navigate the site in selecting courses and utilising their credits. For the future of our workers, e2i will continue to provide and build on our expertise in career coaching, skills upgrading, job matching, and Place-and-Train programmes. We will strengthen and deepen our initiatives for all worker from youths to PMETs and mature workers.

The inaugural Festival of Learning event was a first, organized by e2i, to highlight the importance for Singaporean workers to keep up with essential future skills to value add at work. The event encouraged working people to take ownership of their learning journey to complement their self-development and career progression. There were 5 Future Skills workshops which highlighted proficiencies and abilities required across different jobs and work settings e.g, global connectivity, automation and diversity at the workplace. These workshops were aimed at equipping participants to adapt and respond in a fast-changing work environment, stay competitive, and continue to be productive contributors at work. The Future Learning Exhibition showcased mobile based self-driven learning through harnessing the power of the Internet and how learning will be like in the future.

As an enabler between the Government, employers, training providers, and workers, e2i will coordinate and develop structured training programmes and career pathways to build a Singaporean core across different industries. We will help companies, especially SMEs, with job redesign, industry redevelopment, and skills and productivity improvements so as to create future jobs for workers to progress in their careers and wages.