Companies should upgrade workers' skills to be ready for Industry 4.0: NTUC

Labour chief Ng Chee Meng (centre) with winners of the 18th EY Entrepreneur Of The Year (2019) Singapore awards and other industry professionals.
Labour chief Ng Chee Meng (centre) with winners of the 18th EY Entrepreneur Of The Year (2019) Singapore awards and other industry professionals.PHOTO: EY

SINGAPORE - With technology set to disrupt industries, companies should increase their investment in training to ensure their workers are ready for a more automated future.

Labour chief Ng Chee Meng said this investment - to prepare workers for Industry 4.0, which will see various sectors impacted by automation - is a win-win for employers and workers.

Speaking on Thursday (Oct 3) at an awards dinner hosted by professional services organisation EY, Mr Ng said it is inevitable that technology will disrupt businesses.

"It doesn't matter whether you are an accountancy firm or whether you are a high-tech firm. Technology is coming your way."

But upgrading workers' skills can contribute to a company's success, he added.

"In your success, may you take tactical terms (and) practical ways to take care of our workers, and I don't mean just better wages, better welfare," said Mr Ng, who is National Trades Union Congress secretary-general and Minister in the Prime Minister's Office.

"In this increasingly disrupted world, may we take the extra step (and) plan ahead for the workers, plan ahead for your companies."

Mr Ng was speaking to a group of industry professionals, including five company leaders who received the 18th EY Entrepreneur Of The Year (2019) Singapore awards.

They are Mr Ron Tan, executive chairman and group chief executive of Cityneon Holdings; Mrs Ng Gim Choo, founder and managing director of EtonHouse International Education Group; Mr David (Hyonmoo) Lee, CEO of IYUNO Media Group; Kong Wan Sing, founder and CEO of JustCo; and Mr Yeah Hiang Nam, managing director and CEO of ValueMax Group.


They are the top winners in award categories which range from education to financial services.

Mr Lee, who won the top award in the digital media supply chain category and the overall top prize, will be representing Singapore in the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year held in Monte Carlo, Monaco, in June 2020.

Previous global winners include Jollibee Foods Corporation president Tony Tan Caktiong from the Philippines, United States-based Uptake Technologies CEO Brad Keywell and troubled water treatment company Hyflux chief executive Olivia Lum.

Ms Lum is the only Singapore-based entrepreneur to have won the global award so far.