New body set up to run certification for HR professionals

Pilot batch of 88 awarded certification; institute to accept applications from July

A professional body has been set up to implement a new national certification scheme for human resource (HR) professionals.

The Institute for Human Resource Professionals (IHRP) will accept applications for certification assessment from July, Minister of State for Manpower Teo Ser Luck said yesterday.

He was at a ceremony where 88 HR professionals were conferred IHRP certification under a pilot run by Workforce Singapore.

Mr Teo said it is important to build up the skills of those in HR as they have a key role in developing workers throughout their careers, and in ensuring businesses have a trained and capable workforce as the economy restructures.

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"As we urge our workforce to upskill and reskill, so too must our HR professionals 'adapt and grow' to more effectively partner their businesses in the transformation journey," he said.

There are some 40,000 HR professionals in Singapore. The IHRP was set up by the Ministry of Manpower, National Trades Union Congress and Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF).

Mr Teo also announced that Ms Goh Swee Chen, chairman of Shell companies in Singapore and SNEF council vice-president, will chair the IHRP board. More details on IHRP's plans will be announced later this year, he added.

Said Ms Goh: "As the economy transforms, HR professionals can play a strategic role to drive organisational transformation."

She urged the participants who completed the pilot assessment to "lead, guide and support the HR professional community to be a key stakeholder in the transformation of Singapore's economy".

One HR manager who took part in the pilot run is Mr Khairul Azhar Khalid, 30, from AXS, which operates payment systems. He feels the certification framework will help those in the HR field "continually learn and relearn, and stay relevant".

Mr Teo said mid-career executives, and fresh polytechnic and ITE graduates keen to join the sector can tap on the Professional Conversion Programme and SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme for HR. There will also be SkillsFuture Study Awards for HR workers to upgrade their skills.

Singapore Human Resources Institute (SHRI) president Erman Tan, who is also on IHRP's board, said SHRI will continue to provide a networking platform for its 3,000 members and conduct research and advocacy on HR.

This allows the IHRP to focus on certifying people and reviewing the national professional standards so that they keep up with the fast changing business environment. "The certification is part of an important strategy to ensure standards can be maintained and progress over time," he told The Straits Times.

Mr Tan said SHRI will encourage its members to join the new framework. It will also have a conversion programme to support those with HR accreditation from SHRI in moving to the new framework. Those who want to find out more about the certification can register their interest at www.ihrp.sg.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 26, 2017, with the headline 'New body set up to run certification for HR professionals'. Print Edition | Subscribe