Staying in tune with changing economy's needs

Adjunct adult educators Parveen Sandhu and William Thien. Under the plan to transform the training and adult education sector, training providers will be able to access up-to-date information about in-demand skills or emerging ones.
Adjunct adult educators Parveen Sandhu and William Thien. Under the plan to transform the training and adult education sector, training providers will be able to access up-to-date information about in-demand skills or emerging ones.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Given the rapid pace at which workers need to update skills now, many in the training and adult education sector are hoping that the new plan to upgrade the sector will help them to be better in-tune with the needs of a changing economy.

Adjunct adult educator William Thien, who offers training programmes, including in human resource, said the Training and Adult Education Sector Transformation Plan is timely as workers now "need to unlearn, learn and relearn very quickly".

"The change in the adult learning scene has intensified in recent years as more mid-career professionals, managers and executives have been displaced and are in search of new careers, only to find that old jobs are no longer available and new jobs require new skills," he said. "There is definitely more demand for emerging skills and those needed for sectors with job openings."

Under the plan, training providers will be able to access up-to-date information about in-demand skills or emerging ones.

Also, a greater emphasis will be placed on blended learning, which may involve online lectures as well as discussions in class. By 2020, three in four full Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) courses will be delivered through blended learning. Adjunct adult educator Parveen Sandhu, 51, said such developments will help educators to sharpen their expertise and explore novel ways of teaching.

 

NTUC LearningHub's chief executive officer Kwek Kok Kwong said the plan is crucial in a time where "technology disruptions and business models change more rapidly than before".

"One of the key stresses in this era is the pace at which economies are changing," Mr Kwek said. "Many training providers, including ourselves, find it hard to keep abreast with the future skills needed by emerging sectors.

"With this initiative, training providers would be updated upstream on what is coming up, so that they can start preparing training programmes that are relevant not only for the present economy but also for the future economy."

In his speech yesterday, Education Minister (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung commended adjunct adult educator Jessline Yap, who has been pursuing professional development courses to keep abreast of the skills needs in emerging areas and inspires others to do the same.

Ms Yap, 36, said: "Even as an educator, there is still a constant need to learn, so that I can better teach others."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 04, 2016, with the headline 'Staying in tune with changing economy's needs'. Print Edition | Subscribe