New network to nurture globally competitive locals

The labour movement has taken steps to help nurture Singapore talent to take up important business leadership roles in multinational corporations (MNCs).

This is in line with one of seven strategies for building Singapore's economic future put forward by the Committee on the Future Economy (CFE): deepening and diversifying international connections.

To this end, the movement has joined forces with MNCs to form a community: the U Circle of Friends (U Circle) .

The U Circle comprises regional chief executives and managing directors of large MNCs based in Singapore, all of whom will work closely with the labour movement.

It aims to find and bridge gaps in Singapore's talent pool while enhancing business competitiveness.

Currently, most Singaporeans have insufficient knowledge of regional and international markets - an issue which the CFE has highlighted. This has deterred many locals from taking charge of MNCs' regional or global offices.

To enhance Singaporeans' potential for leadership succession at their companies, the U Future Leaders Global Programme (UFLGP), initiated by the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and the Economic Development Board, will equip local workers with greater regional and global exposure.

Launched in August last year, UFLGP aims to identify promising Singaporeans in mid-level management from five U Circle MNCs, offer them international opportunities, and inculcate in them leadership attributes and competencies.

Over the next three years, UFLGP aims to send about 30 participants overseas.

To boost creativity in the workforce, the labour movement has also reached agreements with seven U Circle MNCs to open their innovation labs to workers, under the Innovation Exchange (IEX) initiative. There have been about 100 participants so far this year, who also attend round-table sessions with the MNCs' key innovators.

NTUC assistant director-general Vivek Kumar said: "Through creating these new opportunities with leading MNCs, we want our Singapore talents to be in the succession pipeline for these leadership roles.

"As such roles are highly visible, not only will it help to raise the profile of Singapore's economy, it will also signal to the rest of the world, the quality of talent we have here in Singapore."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 30, 2017, with the headline 'New network to nurture globally competitive locals'. Print Edition | Subscribe