Build trust by charting career paths: Panel

Offering training and getting workers' buy-in on reskilling and upskilling essential, say business and union leaders

Providing training opportunities and mapping out career paths for workers can help to build trust between employers and employees, said business and union leaders yesterday.

This was brought up at a panel discussion, during which business leaders and tripartite partners also spoke about the importance of getting workers to buy into upskilling and reskilling, through means such as communicating how these new skills can help them stay employable.

The discussion was held at the inaugural National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) Training & Placement Symposium. More than 160 guests attended the hybrid event at Downtown East and online.

NTUC said its training and placement ecosystem has been helping companies transform their operations, improve productivity and upskill workers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Precision engineering firm Certact Engineering is among those that have benefited from the initiatives.

Its managing director Ellis Eng, speaking at the symposium, shared how Covid-19 was a catalyst to get the firm to transform and pivot towards plastic engineering, expanding its capabilities beyond its traditional metals engineering focus.

To help its staff pick up the necessary skills, it has set up a company training committee (CTC) with the Advanced Manufacturing Employees' Union, and tapped support to chart its five-year operation and technology road map.

NTUC has more than 780 CTC partners and, to date, has helped 130 companies embark on their operation and technology road map to transform their businesses and workforce.

A memorandum of understanding was signed yesterday between the tripartite partners and businesses to solidify their commitment to workforce and business transformation through NTUC LearningHub's new Learning eXperience Platform (LXP). The signing was witnessed by NTUC secretary-general Ng Chee Meng.

Among the signatories were integrated securities provider Certis Group, Copthorne King's Hotel Singapore, M Hotel Singapore and Certact Engineering.

The LXP mobile app is intended as a one-stop platform to enable upskilling and reskilling among workers and firms, making learning accessible for all. More than 75,000 courses are available through the platform.

Eligible Singaporeans can offset their annual subscription fee to the platform with their SkillsFuture credits.

NTUC deputy secretary-general Chee Hong Tat encouraged employers to work with the union to set up training and transformation committees, and to tap NTUC's ecosystem of training and placement services to strengthen their enterprise and workforce capabilities.

"Business transformation and skills upgrading need to go hand in hand, so that workers can proactively support their employers to raise productivity and enhance the company's competitiveness. This is key for our workers to enjoy higher wages and better work prospects," said Mr Chee.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 25, 2021, with the headline 'Build trust by charting career paths: Panel'. Subscribe