Opening Address by Ms Indranee Rajah, Second Minister for Education, at the Skillsfuture Fellowships and Skillsfuture Employer Awards Ceremony, Marina Bay Sands

Published Date: 30 July 2019 12:00 AM

News Speeches

President Halimah Yacob

Recipients of the SkillsFuture Fellowships and SkillsFuture Employer Awards

Ladies and Gentlemen

1. Good afternoon. We are very privileged to have with us President Halimah Yacob for today’s event. I would like to thank President Halimah for her continued strong support of SkillsFuture, through her patronage for both awards and her presence with us this afternoon.

2. I would like to congratulate all 60 award recipients - 32 SkillsFuture Employer Award recipients and 28 SkillsFuture Fellows. Your efforts and commitment to make lifelong learning a part of your companies and your lives is commendable. I hope that you will inspire more Singaporeans and employers to embark on their own journeys of lifelong learning.

Value of Skills Development Amidst Industry Transformation

3. Over the past few years, we have seen technological advancements change the way we work and live. This is a global phenomenon. Singapore is no different.

4. In order to keep pace, to stay relevant and be ahead, businesses need to transform their operations and individuals need to continually adapt and upgrade existing skills and acquire emerging and future skills. Employers who adopt skills-based talent development strategies and invest in their employees’ training will find themselves better positioned to thrive amidst the challenges.

5. Since we introduced the SkillsFuture Employer Awards in 2017, we have recognised a total of 73 employers who have institutionalised skills development at their workplaces. It is heartening to see that more companies are beginning to move away from the traditional “plug-and-play” approach for human resource to an “invest-and-build” mindset. Under this new paradigm, training is recognised as an investment in building capability for future growth, both for the company as well as its employees.

6. Many of you seated here today have been exemplary in championing skills development in various ways, such as by going beyond academic qualifications in your hiring and retention practices. You have also actively built on the skillsets of existing employees through training.

7. For instance, we have Netpoleon Solutions Pte Ltd, a recipient of the SkillsFuture Employers Award this year. This SME is a provider of integrated security and networking solutions that believes in growing together with its employees.

8. What is particularly remarkable about Netpoleon Solutions is that it hires Singaporeans who have no prior knowledge or experience in technology, and takes it upon itself to groom them into ICT experts. Using an in-house career progression framework, Netpoleon has been upskilling and developing its employees through workplace training and mentorship programmes.

9. Another award recipient, Chevron Oronite Pte Ltd, actively champions transformation not just within the company, but also across the wider industry. Taking reference from the Skills Framework for Energy and Chemicals, Chevron Oronite developed its own three-year Digital Organisational Capability Roadmap to guide its training for employees in areas such as data analytics, robotics and automation. It assesses employees’ skills against company-wide benchmarks to identify skills gaps, before providing appropriate learning to close these gaps. The company also openly shares its experiences at industry platforms to generate mindshare on the importance of digitalisation and upskilling of workers in the sector.

10. In addition, Chevron Oronite has a structured and competency-based assessment and hiring framework, which focuses on evaluating candidates’ competencies, attitudes and skills. In fact, Chevron Oronite attributes its high retention rate of 95% to this competency-based hiring practice.

Need for Individuals to Adapt and Remain Relevant

11. While our employers play a critical role in driving skills development, we, as individuals, must also take ownership of our own learning needs, and proactively upskill to adapt and stay relevant. It is encouraging to see that many Singaporeans have come far in their learning endeavours and are now masters in their respective areas. Many are also going one step further to inspire, teach and pass on their skills to others.

12. One such individual is 56-year-old Arifin Bin Abd Talib. Arifin started out in the railway industry in 1985 out of his passion for trains, and over the years, he picked up relevant skills on the job. To professionalise his skills, Arifin pursued a formal Diploma in Electronics, Computer and Communication Engineering in 1994. He is now a Senior Manager at SBS Transit and leads a team of 60. Arifin continues to develop his skills through his own research and by attending relevant courses. He also actively learns from his peers and vendors on the job.

13. Arifin hopes to inspire more Singaporeans to join railway engineering and has been sharing his skills and knowledge with the younger generation. He is now a mentor to trainees on SkillsFuture Work-Study Programmes as well as interns from the Singapore Institute of Technology.

Enhancement of MySkillsFuture and Launch of Dedicated Portal for Enterprises

14. Individuals like Arifin are indeed an inspiration for all of us to work towards becoming masters of our chosen fields. To better help Singaporeans find the right training to develop their skills, we launched the MySkillsFuture portal and mobile app in 2017. This is a one-stop online portal with information on industry insights, job roles and training courses to help Singaporeans of all ages make informed learning and training choices.

15. MySkillsFuture has been continuously enhanced to provide a more personalised user experience. Earlier in May, the Minister for Education announced that each personal MySkillsFuture account will contain digital certificates that the individual has obtained throughout his or her lifetime. This includes the GCE ‘N’, ‘O’ and ‘A’ Levels, qualifications from our Institutes of Higher Learning and Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications, and will be available in the Skills Passport in MySkillsFuture. Further enhancements are in the pipeline. In the next quarter, with the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning, individuals will receive recommendations on MySkillsFuture for relevant courses, articles and events that can help them achieve their career aspirations. Using information that they upload onto their Skills Passport such as their current skillsets, digital certificates, and career aspirations, the system will identify skills gaps and suggest how individuals can upskill as they work towards their career goals.

16. By year end, a dedicated portal will also be made available for enterprises to access relevant jobs and skills information and resources (i.e. self-help tools, and selected e-services). Through the portal, employers can engage SkillsFuture Singapore and Workforce Singapore to obtain assessment on how to better plan and implement their workforce transformation journey. More details will be released subsequently.

Conclusion

17. Our SkillsFuture journey to build up a skills-based economy and cultivate a nation of lifelong learners is a multi-year one. While we are still in the early stages of this journey, we have made good progress since 2015, through the collective support of our tripartite partners, many of whom are gathered here today. Thank you for stepping forward to serve as our change agents, as we work together to transform our economy for the future.

18. Our SkillsFuture Fellows and Employer Award winners also play a critical role as role models for us to look towards in our pursuit of lifelong learning and skills mastery. You have blazed the trail and shown us the way forward. We are proud to recognise your achievements today.

19. Congratulations once again to all award recipients, and I wish you a pleasant afternoon ahead.

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