Career conversion programme to reskill HR professionals to launch in June

Attendees at the HR Tech Festival Asia industry exhibition on May 10, 2022. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - A career conversion programme for human resources (HR) professionals will launch this June, imparting them emerging skills including HR analytics, strategic workforce planning and knowledge in HR technology.

Senior Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad announced on Tuesday (May 10) that statutory board Workforce Singapore will start the new Career Conversion Programme for Human Capital Professionals next month. He was giving his opening address at the HR Tech Festival Asia industry exhibition at Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The new initiative is the latest addition to a suite of more than 100 such programmes spearheaded by Workforce Singapore to promote lifelong learning and allow Singaporean workers to pursue new opportunities and aspirations midway in their careers.

Mr Zaqy said: "The (career conversion programme) for human capital is a follow-up measure to the... HR Jobs Transformation Map, which studied the impact of technology and mapped out HR's shift to deliver higher value work.

"It aims to reskill HR professionals for more strategic roles such as HR data analysts and people strategists."

The Singapore National Employers Federation and continuing education and training provider NTUC LearningHub will manage the programme, with know-how contributed by the Institute for Human Resource Professionals (IHRP).

The new programme will pioneer a format that promises to be less disruptive for workers.

Unlike many of the more than 100 existing career conversion programmes, which require a participant to take on a job at another company or go for work attachment without a guarantee of a job placement, an HR professional in the programme can receive training for a redesigned HR role in the company that employs him.

The partners running the programme will assist the employer to redesign a participant's role.

Mr Zaqy noted in his speech that more than 80 companies had expressed interest to place about 150 employees in the programme.

Speaking to The Straits Times, IHRP chief executive Mayank Parekh said that a 2020 study by the institute on the impact of technology on HR functions catalysed discussions within the three-way, or tripartite, partnership between the Government, employers and unions.

"And when you look at HR function-specific jobs, there were a set of jobs that was going to be heavily impacted."

Giving an example, Mr Parekh said: "You may not need HR to answer employee queries if you have a chatbot.

"So there is going to be a sector or a set of HR professionals that will have to reskill... and continue to be employable and this is the target for the conversion."

He also said the tripartite partners wanted to use the HR sector as a testbed to find out how to accelerate the reskilling and redesigning of jobs.

He added that the emphasis on redesigning jobs, as well as keeping workers in their original company, was a preference that emerged from discussions among the tripartite partners and employer feedback.

In his speech, Mr Zaqy also announced that the Government will work with the IHRP and the Singapore Human Resources Institute to familiarise the HR community with the new points-based framework for employment pass approvals, among other assessment tools.

This will be done through advisories and workshops and details will be released later, he added.

"Now as we step out of the pandemic, there is no better time to refresh and reimagine HR strategies as employees return to a redefined workplace, as firms rehire, in tandem with economic recovery," said Mr Zaqy.

The HR Tech Festival Asia industry exhibition, which adopts a hybrid format, is on at Hall 403 in the Suntec convention centre on May 10 and virtually till May 13.

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