CapitaLand pumps $5m into upgrading staff's digital skills

CapitaLand Group digital international manager William Chooi plans to use the new training resources to learn more about artificial intelligence. (From left, standing) Mr Sazali Zainal, president of the Singapore Industrial and Services Employees' Un
(From left, standing) Mr Sazali Zainal, president of the Singapore Industrial and Services Employees' Union (SISEU); Dr Koh Poh Koon, NTUC's deputy secretary-general; and Mr Lee Chee Koon, CapitaLand's group CEO at the signing of CapitaLand's agreement with SISEU to set up a company training committee, by (from left, seated) Ms Geraldine Loe, CapitaLand's employee and representative for SISEU; Ms Sylvia Choo, SISEU's executive secretary; Mr Tan Seng Chai, CapitaLand's chief corporate and people officer; and Ms Angeline Oh, CapitaLand's head of group human resources.ST PHOTOS: SHINTARO TAY
CapitaLand Group digital international manager William Chooi plans to use the new training resources to learn more about artificial intelligence. (From left, standing) Mr Sazali Zainal, president of the Singapore Industrial and Services Employees' Un
CapitaLand Group digital international manager William Chooi plans to use the new training resources to learn more about artificial intelligence. ST PHOTOS: SHINTARO TAY

Real estate developer CapitaLand's more than 2,600 employees in Singapore will get more help to improve their digital skills over the next two years.

They will receive a training allowance of up to $500 each, which includes a one-year membership to e-learning platform Udemy, as well as one day of training leave to attend external digital-related courses available through the MySkillsFuture portal.

CapitaLand said yesterday it is investing $5 million in upgrading staff over two years through its new Building Capability Framework, which encourages workers to chart their own learning and development path by selecting from more than 50 core, functional, adaptive and digital training modules.

The programmes include data analytics, blockchain and cyber security. They can be in-house courses at CapitaLand Institute of Management and Business, or at other training partners such as the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) LearningHub, Employment and Employability Institute, SkillsFuture Singapore, Workforce Singapore and the National University of Singapore's School of Continuing and Lifelong Education.

The framework and incentives apply to both office staff as well as operational staff at CapitaLand's properties.

All of its employees here will complete at least one digital-related training by next year, it said.

It will also customise and roll out the new framework to its employees in over 30 other countries.

CapitaLand Group chief corporate and people officer Tan Seng Chai said the firm wants to speed up staff training in tandem with its efforts to adopt technology to cope with customers' demands.

"We want to push ahead with a lot more effort to incentivise and motivate our people to pick up skills, particularly in the digital space because this is where most of the applications and expectations from customers and consumers will be," he told reporters at a learning festival for staff at CapitaLand's headquarters in Capital Tower.

Last year, about 95 per cent of CapitaLand's workforce attended at least one learning event, and each employee completed an average of 51 training hours.

CapitaLand also signed an agreement yesterday with the Singapore Industrial and Services Employees' Union to set up a company training committee that will design and provide training programmes for its staff in Singapore.

NTUC aims to set up 1,000 such committees over the next three years to help workers gain skills to participate in company transformation. More than 60 have been set up so far this year.

NTUC deputy secretary-general Koh Poh Koon, who witnessed the signing, said the aim of the committees is to have companies articulate their strategy to transform to be more competitive in the evolving economic landscape, and translate this down to workers.

"If we can have companies coming up with a clear strategy and then articulating the kind of job scopes as well as the kind of skills required, that will be a near-term outcome that we want to see as defining success (of the committees)," he said.

CapitaLand Group digital international manager William Chooi, 41, said he hopes to use the new training resources to learn more about artificial intelligence to better streamline operations.

He attended an in-house data analytics course last year and is now able to create interactive dashboards. What used to take him some eight hours to do, through pulling data into Excel, laying it out and running calculations, takes him 30 minutes now, he said.

He also helps the company analyse data from the central management platform for carpark systems, which was rolled out at its retail malls and commercial buildings here over the past few years.

"We can look at parking occupancy and duration to understand how events affect footfall, for instance, or combine this with other data to see whether free lunch parking promotions boost spending," he added. "We can now better use the data we collect to gather insights we can use."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 15, 2019, with the headline 'CapitaLand pumps $5m into upgrading staff's digital skills'. Print Edition | Subscribe