5 key skills you need to be future-ready in your workplace

Learn new skills to stay relevant in the future workplace. PHOTO: ISTOCK
Learn new skills to stay relevant in the future workplace. PHOTO: ISTOCK

How Singapore Polytechnic courses can equip professionals for the future economy

In the not-too-distant future, your job could be taken over by a robot. This is not a scene from a sci-fi movie but a distinct possibility.

In 2017, international management consulting firm McKinsey released a report warning that 800 million workers could be replaced by machines in 2030.

The good news is: new jobs will be created. However, the report recommends that the existing workforce learn new skills to stay relevant.

What, then, are these new skills that will see us into the future and how can we acquire them?

If you’re a working professional seeking to learn new skill sets, Singapore Polytechnic's (SP) Professional and Adult Continuing Education (PACE) Academy presents a wide array of courses for you.

The Continuing Education and Training (CET) programmes provided can be taken both online and in classroom settings, and are designed to train and equip adults in the workforce.

In particular, the SkillsFuture (SF) series courses are subsidised for Singaporean citizens and permanent residents. The SF series courses have allowed the Singapore worker to tap into the SkillsFuture movement in emerging areas, ranging from beginner to advanced levels, from short courses to part-time diplomas to advanced post-diplomas.

  • Five types of programmes available:

  • Part-time diplomas and post-diplomas

  • Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) certificates 

    Programmes are certified through the WSQ Framework.

  • Earn and Learn Programme (ELP)

    This is a work-study programme designed to provide fresh polytechnic and ITE graduates more opportunities to build on the skills and knowledge they have learnt in school so they can successfully move into the workforce.

  • Online Programmes on ePACE

    There are several programmes on PACE Academy’s e-learning portal ranging from short courses to skill-based courses in various fields.

  • Certification Programmes

    These programmes lead to professional certifications or licensing.

1. Digital agility

What is it?

Technology has broadened our horizons and transformed the way we live. In the digital age, information is just a click or a swipe of the finger away. Connecting people across time and space is easy and instant.

How quickly we respond to and harness those ever-evolving advancements will depend on adapting our skills and developing digital agility through lifelong learning.

Which courses should you take?

The SF series has a slew of digital-related courses.

For a basic introduction to all things digital, sign up for the five-part course Basic Digital Confidence. Through 10 modules in total, you will learn how to leverage digital media to improve productivity, collaborate across platforms, develop basic data analysis skills and web literacy.

Professionals working in the media industry may want to take up short modular classes on how to make effective infographics or create 360-degree videos.

Marketing executives will benefit from the one-and-a-half day course, Essentials of Digital, which covers topics such as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and social media marketing tips.

If you already have some intermediate knowledge and would like to go in-depth, enrol in the part-time Diploma in Design (Visual Communication). Within 2.5 years, you will get certificates in web and motion design and communication design.

Fresh full-time graduates from ITE or polytechnics can choose from ELP Programmes such as the ELP Programme in Digital Content Marketing.

2. Data analytics

What is it?

Along with the deluge of information comes a large amount of data. According to IBM, the world generates 2.5 quintillion (10 with 18 zeroes behind it) bytes of data every day.


Data analytics is about sorting through this flood of data with specialised systems and software in a meaningful way, analysing the information within to draw conclusions that can be used to improve and shape ideas and decisions.


Which courses should you take?

For an easy introduction, select short modular courses such as Benefits of Using Analytics for Start-ups and SMEs or Data Visualisation with Tableau. You can also learn how to work with big data with the Big Data Analytics course.

These skill sets will greatly complement the careers of executives who want to improve workflow with the help of numbers.

For advanced learners, the part-time Specialist Diploma in Digital Marketing and Analytics spans one year and will impart skills on how to analyse data to help in digital and social media marketing.

3. Cyber security

What is it?

Our computer systems, programmes and data are vulnerable to cyber attacks such as information thefts, damage to hardware or software and disruption of services. The future workplace will be seeking cyber security professionals who can help to guard their IT systems.


Which courses should you take?

For beginners, try the short course Cyber Security for Non-IT Professionals, where you will learn about security issues in the IT environment.

Personal Data Protection relates to the protection of data against cyber attacks. The WSQ Fundamentals of the Personal Data Protection Act will provide guidance on how to implement data protection policies for working professionals.

If you want to delve deeper, sign up for the Diploma in Infocomm and Digital Media (Cyber Security) where you will learn about digital forensics, cryptography and how to analyse and tackle cyber threats.

4. Entrepreneurship

What is it?

Entrepreneurship fosters innovation and value creation. Entrepreneurial professionals are highly valued within their organisations as they can innovate and improve processes.


Which courses should you take?  

As an entrepreneur, you don’t have the luxury and deep pocket to hire professionals for every task. This is where short courses or online programmes can help you quickly gain essential skills. The courses can usually be completed within a day or over a few weekends.

Online courses such as Workplace Mentoring and short courses like Designing your Business Experience will help you establish the foundation to your business. Also, you can sign up for other short courses to develop skills in bookkeeping and accounting, digital marketing and negotiation.

5. Service orientation

What is it?

Good service translates to good business. Service is so important — American Express’s 2017 Global Customer Service Barometer discovered that two out of three Singaporeans did not complete a purchase because of poor customer service. This makes the Singapore customer one of the toughest in the world.


Which courses should you take?

Learn how to win potential customers at the Convert-To-Sales Tactics workshop. In just one day, you will learn how to present pricing strategically and create successful sales pitches.

Working for an SME? You may be interested in the Service & Process Innovation Design short course that spans over three-and-a-half days. Learn how to understand the needs of your customers and create more value for them.

Communication, negotiation and managing people also feature prominently in the course offerings. There are courses on maintaining and marketing your brand as well.

Albert Einsten once said: “Once you stop learning, you start dying.” To combat the changes that automation might bring in the future economy, start upgrading yourself and pick up these core skills.

Visit PACE Academy’s website to find out more.