SINGAPORE - Mr Rizal Johari, 28, used to work as a logistics assistant, a labour-intensive job that mostly involved the picking and packing of goods. However the introduction of technology made his role obsolete last year, as processes became automated.
That was when his company, ST Logistics, got him to take part in a new redeployment programme so he could learn the skills required to operate the high-tech systems instead.
The programme involves three months of classroom and on-the-job training and is jointly developed by Workforce Singapore (WSG), the Economic Development Board, Enterprise Singapore and the Supply Chain and Logistics Academy.
Under the programme, known as the Redeployment Programme for Supply Chain and Logistics Coordinators, WSG will provide participating companies with salary support to aid the re-skilling and redeployment of their rank-and-file employees who are affected by the company's business transformation efforts.
The programme, which was piloted last year and officially launched on Tuesday (March 10), helps these affected workers take on new or enhanced roles within the company.
Providing training support to workers when "business is not exactly booming" is difficult for companies to think about, but in fact is "the smarter thing to do", said Minister for Manpower Josephine Teo on Tuesday during a visit to ST Logistics' facility in Tuas.
WSG also runs a similar programme called the Redeployment Professional Conversion Programme for Supply Chain and Logistics Professionals, which is targeted at professionals, managers, executives and technicians.
ST Logistics, together with its parent company Toll Logistics, has committed to tapping both schemes to reskill 100 workers. Its chief executive Loganathan Ramasamy said: "As far as they (workers) are willing to learn and re-skill themselves, we are more than open - it is incumbent upon the company to do that."
Mr Johari now handles pick-and-pack operations with the aid of technology, operating a remote-controlled system that can place and retrieve goods from storage racks. "Its quite interesting moving (to this role) from a manual labour job," he said.
Separately, ST Logistics is also sponsoring Mr Johari's diploma in integrated logistics management at the Singapore Logistics Academy, which he will complete this July, after which he will be eligible for a supervisory role and a higher salary.
WSG expects about 600 logistics and supply chain workers and professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) to benefit from its redeployment programmes.