ST Logistics to spend $1.7m a year on allowances for staff who upskill

Operations executive Matthew Peh, 30, wanted to keep pace with the cutting-edge technology being used at his company ST Logistics, but was looking to do so without having to stop work.

He signed up as soon as he could when the firm said it was starting a new IT skills course for workers.

His plans to upgrade his skills were given a further boost as ST Logistics yesterday announced a new incentive scheme to encourage workers to pick up technical and digital skills.

From next month, ST Logistics staff can get a monthly skills allowance of up to 6 per cent of their salary when they complete required courses and demonstrate the skills learnt in project implementation.

ST Logistics announced the scheme, a first for the company, at an event yesterday at its Pioneer Road headquarters. The firm expects to spend $1.7 million a year on the skills allowances.

About 770 of ST Logistics' 1,100 employees, including executives and non-executives, will benefit from the scheme. The firm, which has a close to all-Singaporean workforce, handles government logistics at a combined annual spend of more than $400 million.

The company's efforts to boost training include a skills map for each employee that tracks 36 skills in SkillsFuture frameworks, which workers can pick up in courses.

Examples of courses include digital workplace skills and robotic process automation.

At the event, ST Logistics also signed four memorandums of understanding with the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT), the National Centre of Excellence for Workplace Learning (Nace) led by Nanyang Polytechnic, NTUC LearningHub and the National University of Singapore (NUS).

Students of SIT and NUS will get internship and job opportunities through final-year projects, recruitment and the SIT Integrated Work Study Programme.

ST Logistics will work with SIT to develop a curriculum to prepare students for the digital supply chain, and partner Nace to promote a certification scheme aimed at helping local firms improve their workplace learning systems.

Education Minister Chan Chun Sing, who was guest of honour at the event, gave a speech touching on five key points.

One, he raised the importance of career guidance for students to discover their strengths and interests, and urged industry leaders to talk to students about opportunities in the sectors.

Two, he called on schools to work with industries to keep the curriculum up to date, and to equip students with skills from industry exposure. He cited Republic Polytechnic, which sent its lecturer on a five-month attachment to a deep-tech start-up company so he can pass on what he learnt to his students.

Three, he emphasised continual learning through work, citing the Institute of Technical Education's work-study diploma in e-commerce and retail, which comes with work experience in the retail industry.

Four, he stressed the role of institutes of higher learning as partners in workplace learning, pointing to ST Logistics' efforts to create new courses for workers as the business process evolves.

Five, he called on companies to make learning accessible to adult learners. He cited ST Logistics' skills map for workers, which aims to equip them with "surplus skills" they can use to pivot into new roles when the company transforms.

ST Logistics chief executive Loganathan Ramasamy said the firm sees the value of enabling employees to take charge of their learning journey. "We believe that sustainable learning journeys will not only strengthen our employees' careers in the company, but also benefit them outside the workplace in their personal life," he said.

Correction: An earlier version of this story mentioned the SIT Work-Study Programme. SIT has since clarified that it should be the SIT Integrated Work Study Programme.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 23, 2022, with the headline ST Logistics to spend $1.7m a year on allowances for staff who upskill. Subscribe