Training and HR help for small firms

New non-profit group signs MOU with WDA to help businesses cope with labour crunch

A new non-profit group set up to assist local businesses yesterday launched a collaboration with the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) to help them train their employees and refine human resource policies.

Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck signed a memorandum of understanding between the WDA and Workforce Advancement Federation (WAF) at the latter's official launch at the Lifelong Learning Institute in Eunos Road.

The two bodies aim to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in strengthening their workforce amid a tight labour market.

WAF was set up by local businessman Chan Chong Beng, formerly president of the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises.

He told yesterday's event: "We want SME owners to constantly think about improving their manpower. To help them understand that, in fact, it is a key driver of increasing revenue in their organisation, big or small."

Mr Teo said in a speech: "This MOU marks another milestone towards stronger cooperation between employers and WDA to sustain Singapore's economic competitiveness."

WAF will seek to provide a platform for SME owners to discuss manpower management methods and exchange ideas in order to improve their HR systems.

It will also put in place a mentorship programme which will match SMEs with leaders in their industry, allowing them to gain insight into progressive human resource practices and grow their business.

Initiatives will include a monthly Workforce Champion Series, where bosses with exemplary workforce practices will share their tips with SMEs.

Ms Julia Ng, senior director of the Enterprise Development Group at the WDA, said: " We need organisations like WAF to reach out to the SMEs more specifically, to ensure that all initiatives are effectively communicated."

She said this is especially important as 70 per cent of Singapore's workforce are in SMEs.

Mr Jason Foo, 64, who owns Jason Marine, said: "There are many resources available, but WDA cannot approach everyone, so WAF can help make these initiatives known."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 17, 2015, with the headline 'Training and HR help for small firms'. Print Edition | Subscribe