SINGAPORE - Asking the right questions, solving complex problems and navigating changes are the kind of skills that will prepare workers for the future, said labour chief Ng Chee Meng on Thursday (Oct 4).
The National Trades Union Congress can help people build such skills through learning programmes and other initiatives, he said in a speech at the NTUC U Future Leaders Summit.
He also called on workers to be proactive in their career development to reap the benefits of a fast-changing world.
"It is, therefore, important that all of us are aware of the trends, challenges and opportunities that Industry 4.0 will bring and gear up," he added, referring to automation and how it is changing various sectors.
"If we can deepen the skills of our workers, if employers can embrace technologies, our productivity levels... can go up."
"As companies become more profitable, and as an overall economy, Singapore will find the way forward to make a good robust economy so that Singaporeans can continue to enjoy economic growth."
Mr Ng, who addressed about 1,500 participants at the event at the Star Theatre in Buona Vista, said workers will "require a combination of adaptive skills, technological skills and deep technical skills" to stay relevant to the future workforce.
He also noted that the U Future Leaders Exchange, a series of micro-learning sessions the NTUC launched last year to help busy white-collar workers, has helped about 4,000 professionals, managers and executives.
Participants get unlimited access to bite-sized workshops, networking events and learning journeys to innovation labs at Mastercard, Unilever and Microsoft, among others, he added.
Mr Ng, the NTUC's secretary general, said the organisation has programmes to help workers deepen professional skills.
For example, it works with the Institute for Human Resource Professionals (IHRP) to certify HR practitioners. More than 700 practitioners have been awarded the IHRP certification, including the 228 workers who received theirs during Thursday's summit.
The NTUC announced a wide-ranging study last month to find out how workers can be matched to future jobs.
"The data we will obtain, study and analyse will pave the way for specific training programmes in various sectors, partnerships with employers," Mr Ng said.
More than 26,000 workers have benefited from the U Future Leaders Programme, which is in its sixth year, noted Mr Ng. "We intend to reach out to more of our workers, regardless of collar."