Firms that send workers for training see revenue rise, higher productivity: SkillsFuture-MTI study

This lifelong learning is vital to building stronger businesses and a more agile workforce, said Minister of State Gan Siow Huang.
This lifelong learning is vital to building stronger businesses and a more agile workforce, said Minister of State Gan Siow Huang.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Businesses that sent their workers for reskilling and training have reaped revenue benefits, according to a new study by SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) and the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

The study found that for every 10 per cent of the local workforce that companies supported for training, the company's revenue was about 0.7 per cent higher on average each year for up to three years after training.

The labour productivity of the firms was also 2.2 per cent higher on average per year for two years.

The study looked at the benefits enjoyed by firms that sponsored their local workers for SSG-supported training between 2010 and 2018.

This lifelong learning is vital to building stronger businesses and a more agile workforce, said Minister of State for Manpower and Education Gan Siow Huang at a forum to launch the SkillsFuture month on Thursday (July 8).

The event, which will end on Aug 22, features over 50 virtual, hybrid and physical events catered to different segments of the workforce.

More than 90 community, education and industry partners are participating in the event, which is expected to draw more than 50,000 learners.

Ms Gan said: "Based on the study, when enterprises actively support and invest in the upskilling of employees, they can better attract and retain talent, as well as increase their revenue.

"The results of this study are encouraging and provide evidence that investment in workforce training leads to positive business outcomes. Clearly, it is a win-win proposition for companies to invest in developing their employees."

She added that the Covid-19 pandemic has been a harsh wake-up call and forced nations, firms and individuals to transform the way they live and work.

"More than ever, it is imperative for our workforce to continually upskill and reskill in order to remain competitive and capture future opportunities in the new normal," she said.

She noted that the next phase of SkillsFuture has a strong focus on the enterprise pillar.

"It is critical that enterprises, particularly employers, support continual skills upgrading, so that our workforce remains relevant and competitive."

To this end, SSG supports firms through initiatives that include providing credits for enterprises to cover eligible training expenses and enabling partnerships with "queen bee" companies, which are large anchor firms that help with skills development in their respective industries.

More than 7,000 firms have tapped the SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit and sent their employees for SSG-funded training courses as at end-May.

About 650 firms also implemented workplace learning programmes and trained 3,700 workers as at March 31, under the National Centre of Excellence for Workplace Learning.

The centre helps companies develop their workplace learning capabilities through training and consultancy projects.

SSG also partnered more than 20 queen bee firms to help over 500 companies, many of which are small and medium-sized enterprises.

Big names like Sheng Siong and Shopee have also come on board this year to support SSG, Ms Gan added.

She said: "I urge more companies to come on board and make use of these opportunities to support their workforce development and business transformation.

SSG also places special focus on supporting mature individuals in their 40s and 50s, with programmes to help them stay employable in their current jobs or even switch sectors.

More than 11,000 Singaporeans have enrolled in SGUnited skills programmes as at May. Nearly 5,300 locals also enrolled in the SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways company training programmes.

More than 60 per cent of the trainees are aged 40 and above.

"The path to recovery may well be long and challenging for many companies as well as individuals affected by Covid-19, but we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel," Ms Gan said.

"Through lifelong learning, we can work together to build stronger businesses, tighter communities and a more agile workforce, as well as a more resilient society."


Over 50 events for everyone

SkillsFuture Month, which started yesterday and ends on Aug 22, will feature a range of over 50 virtual, hybrid and physical events, catering to Singaporeans at different life stages, as well as enterprises and training partners.

For working adults

SFM @ SIT 
When: Aug 4
What: A virtual event by SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) and the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT), and supported by all the autonomous universities, polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education (ITE). 
It will feature keynote sessions and a series of online workshops on trends in areas such as digitalisation, smart manufacturing, design innovation and sustainability, health and food innovation, business, law and finance, and community and social services.

SSG X WSG Jobs And Skills Fair
When: July 23-25 (physical roadshow), July 23-27 (virtual fair)
What: A collaboration with Workforce Singapore (WSG), this fair will showcase the range of reskilling, upskilling and employment opportunities available. 
Job seekers can access information on various support initiatives such as skills and training advisory sessions, one-on-one career coaching and the Virtual Career Fair.

For students

SkillsFuture Work-Study Fair
When: Aug 13
What: Organised this year by ITE, in collaboration with the polytechnics and private sector partners, the fair will showcase work-study opportunities for fresh and recent graduates.

World X
When: July 14-17
What: SSG will also partner The Astronauts Collective, a non-profit organisation, to hold a virtual career exploration event. Over 1,000 tertiary students will get to experience and discover diverse careers through activities such as job taster workshops, networking sessions and interactions with working professionals.

For the public

SkillsFuture @CDC 
When: July 17
What: Organised by the five Community Development Councils (CDCs), the virtual event will include a series of online programmes, covering employability skills and lifelong learning topics. Topics include design thinking, cyber security, data visualisation and digital fluency.

SkillsFuture Month Physical Roadshow
When: Aug 20-22
What: At this showcase of training opportunities under the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package, people can also receive training advisory from Skills Ambassadors on site. This will be complemented by a wide range of virtual learning activities.