New portal for SME bosses to reskill and deepen knowledge

At yesterday's panel discussion were (from left) Mr Tan Kiat How, chief executive of the Info-communications Media Development Authority; Mr Abraham Thomas, managing director of IBM Singapore; Mr Ng Chee Meng, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office
At yesterday's panel discussion were (from left) Mr Tan Kiat How, chief executive of the Info-communications Media Development Authority; Mr Abraham Thomas, managing director of IBM Singapore; Mr Ng Chee Meng, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and NTUC secretary-general; Professor Ho Teck Hua, provost and senior deputy president at the National University of Singapore and executive chairman of AI Singapore; and Mr Liu Feng-Yuan, co-founder and CEO of BasisAI.ST PHOTO: JOSEPH CHUA

Modules designed to help boost leadership, human capital skills

A new initiative has been launched to drive home the message that the need to reskill and deepen existing knowledge is for everyone, including bosses.

The National Trades Union Congress' (NTUC) Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) has set up a closed portal for bosses of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), with modules specifically tailored for business owners and directors.

The portal is part of the existing platform U Leap, or Learning Enabled through Active Participation.

The new initiative was launched yesterday by Mr Ng Chee Meng, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and NTUC secretary-general, at the Conference on Industry 4.0, Artificial Intelligence, Digitalisation and Technology.

The U Leap platform was launched in 2017 and has over 200 e-learning modules for working professionals.

They cover topics such as information and communications technology, design, human resources, robotics and wholesale trade.

Since its launch, more than 10,000 users have tapped the platform, which is a mobile application with bite-sized training courses for professionals on the go.

ACCESS TO BITE-SIZED LEARNING

It is critical to equip the SME business leaders with relevant skills and knowledge to help them transform and stay ahead of the game... The U Leap Community for SME bosses will help time-strapped leaders gain easy access to bite-sized learning, engage in discussions with peers and learn at their own pace.

E2I CHIEF EXECUTIVE GILBERT TAN

In a joint statement, e2i and Human Capital Singapore (HCS) said it is important to include bosses on the platform in order "to support different community groups to acquire new knowledge and deepen their skills, bring about greater collaborations and speed up training".

"This new pillar within the U Leap ecosystem serves to address a need for community groups with common interests to access customised learning content and network with their peers," they added.

The U Leap Community for SME bosses, set up by e2i and HCS, now includes 14 modules, mostly covering topics related to leadership, organisational development and internationalisation of businesses.

This number is set to expand to 50 by the end of the year.

HCS and e2i said the modules can help boost the bosses' leadership and human capital skills to drive change, stay on top of trends and upgrade their workers and companies.

Chief executive of e2i Gilbert Tan added: "It is critical to equip the SME business leaders with relevant skills and knowledge to help them transform and stay ahead of the game.

"The U Leap Community for SME bosses will help time-strapped leaders gain easy access to bite-sized learning, engage in discussions with peers and learn at their own pace."

Mr Richard Magnus, chairman of the HCS management board, said: "The national drive towards digitisation cannot occur if not for an investment in training and education to upgrade the knowledge and skills of individuals and organisations."

During a panel discussion at the event at Grand Copthorne Waterfront hotel, Mr Ng said progressive employers and workers can chart a path forward.

"Regardless of whether you are young or old, have a learning attitude," he said.

Ms Belinda Bay, director of welding products distributor Uniweld Products (USA), said: "SME bosses are always on the go, so this helps us to learn efficiently and caters to our needs. It also has quizzes to help me apply my learning."

Ms Bay took a course on how to attract and retain workers, which she found useful for SMEs.

She said: "I prefer these bite-sized modules to a full sit-down course."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 14, 2019, with the headline 'New portal for SME bosses to reskill and deepen knowledge'. Print Edition | Subscribe