SINGAPORE - Leadership training for Home Team officers is back on track after a five-month-long pause due to the pandemic.
The Home Team Academy (HTA) organises the courses for staff under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
Training began again in mid-September when 29 senior officers from the Home Team and one each from the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau and the Singapore Food Agency underwent training.
Another course involved leaders from the Home Team, Ministry of Defence (Mindef), Singapore Customs and the Infocomm Media Development Authority.
The courses included lessons on navigating change and interpreting security developments around the world.
The HTA has stepped up the use of digital and virtual tools to ensure participant safety, including e-introduction videos and virtual chat-groups.
When lessons were conducted in person, participants wore masks and maintained safe distances.
The resumption of leadership training also allowed ministers and civil servants to engage with course participants through virtual and physical fireside chats.
Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat discussed upcoming challenges and opportunities for Singapore at an in-person gathering while Manpower Minister and Second Minister for Home Affairs Josephine Teo chatted with participants about social issues and the country's approach to the pandemic over Skype.
HTA chief executive Clarence Yeo called the fireside chats a "key highlight" of the courses, adding: "HTA's leadership development programmes are an important enabling platform for officers from the various Home Team departments and other government agencies to connect, share leadership experiences and ideas, and enhance their networking."
Lieutenant-Colonel (1A) Shaiful Herman of the Singapore Civil Defence Force, who is deputy director for enforcement at the Fire Safety Department and commander of the Fire Investigation Unit in the Operations Department, attended the Home Team Senior Command and Staff Course.
He said: "It was an odd experience initially, participating while wearing masks and amid other safe management measures.
"But I realised soon after that it did not hamper the quality of discussions. The cohort truly enjoyed the interactions with various speakers. In fact, the strict group segregation meant that we learnt a lot more about each group member, and could engage in deeper exchange of views."
Colonel Jack Lau, chief of staff of the 2nd People's Defence Force under Mindef, said: "The programme has been very beneficial from the personal development perspective, as well as in providing a platform for networking and sharing with my MHA and other ministry counterparts."