May Day Rally: Training fund for workers, course development hits $100 million

Labour chief Chan Chun Sing speaking at NTUC's May Day Rally.
Labour chief Chan Chun Sing speaking at NTUC's May Day Rally. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - About $25 million has been raised for a National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) training fund to help workers upgrade their skills, said labour chief Chan Chun Sing on Monday (May 1).

As the Government will match each dollar by three dollars, this means that the NTUC Education and Training Fund has $100 million to date. This is halfway to its $200 million target.

Investment income from the fund will be used to subsidise course fees for union members for more than 3,200 training courses, capped at $250 a year.

Such upgrading is crucial to help workers cope with structural changes like technological disruptions, which can mean that "career transitions will become the norm", said Mr Chan at NTUC's May Day Rally.

The fund will also be used to develop quicker ways of creating courses to keep workers up to date with current trends, he added.

 
 
 

Today, it can take a year or more to push out a module. This includes figuring out market demand, curating a course, and mobilising workers to go for training.

But this is "too slow for the new economy", said Mr Chan.

He painted a picture of workers having apps through which they could download bite-sized modules a day or two after any relevant event.

NTUC will work with 14 institutes of higher learning on this, he added.

He also stressed that NTUC must continually evolve, and unions cannot be the only way the labour movement reaches out to workers.

Other ways include partnering with professions and professionals, managers and executives (PMEs) through the U Associate network.

NTUC also works with small and medium-sized firms, freelancers and migrant workers.

Watch PM's speech on his Facebook page.