Firm's on-the-job training scheme with partner ITE helped project engineer find his feet faster

Mr Nicholas Hoon was one of Enlighted Sales and Service's first few employees to go through an on-the-job training programme. PHOTO: INSTITUTE OF TECHNICAL EDUCATION
On Nov 12, ITE celebrated the 25th anniversary of its Certified On-the-Job Training Centre scheme at its headquarters in Ang Mo Kio. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - He studied business and administration at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) and later did a diploma course in logistics and operations management, before joining the Internet of Things industry - one that was unfamiliar to him - in 2017.

For Mr Nicholas Hoon, joining Enlighted Sales and Service as a project engineer was like "starting from scratch".

Said the 29-year-old: "I had no general knowledge of IT protocol, communications, even simple issues related to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. I had to read up on a lot of things on my own."

Things changed in 2018 when he became one of the company's first few employees to go through an on-the-job training programme, which was developed in partnership with ITE.

Mr Hoon went through three technical modules detailing steps of the company's business procedure, from project analysis to the installation of Internet of Things sensors and systems, and the testing and commissioning of software.

On Tuesday (Nov 12), ITE celebrated the 25th anniversary of its Certified On-the-Job Training Centre scheme at its headquarters in Ang Mo Kio.

Dr Koh Poh Koon, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry, attended the ceremony.

The programme has expanded significantly, with some300 companies on board today, up from just 14 when it was introduced in 1994 to raise the workforce skill level.

The scheme gives companies a structured framework for training, which includes identifying skills gaps and laying out training objectives and desired employees' competencies.

Companies bear the costs of training, and trainers are usually in-house staff. Employees who successfully complete the training are issued a certificate of completion by their company, backed by ITE.

About 35,000 workers are trained annually on average.

Said Dr Koh: "As a small country with limited resources, we have always known that we need to maximise the skills and potential of our people. This is critical for Singapore to grow and prosper."

He gave out awards to 20 companies, including ComfortDelGro Engineering and Jean Yip Salon, to recognise their dedication and commitment towards training and developing their employees.

Mr Edmond Looi, business development director at Enlighted Sales and Service, which was also an award recipient, told The Straits Times that before coming on board the on-the-job programme, the company had its own training programmes in place. But they were not structured and hence were ineffective.

"Being in the Internet of Things industry involves a lot of technical work like wiring for temperature and humidity sensors, for example. And we were frequently making wiring errors, which can waste a lot of time."

Mr Looi, 45, shared that the most recent project the company completed saw just one error in the installation of about 500 sensors which could be easily resolved.

He compared this with a project that was completed before the new training programme which had almost 300 errors in the installation of 900 sensors, which took time to rectify.

The programme helped the company document processes in an organised manner, and helped it to train its employees and partners properly, he added.

As for Mr Hoon, having completed the on-the-job training, he is now a course trainer for new employees.

"Different superiors can have different ways of teaching or guiding you. The structured programme has helped me become more confident in doing my job."

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