Project engineer learns on the job, with help from ITE

Mr Nicholas Hoon, a project engineer at Enlighted Sales and Service, on the on-the-job training programme.
Mr Nicholas Hoon, a project engineer at Enlighted Sales and Service, on the on-the-job training programme.

Programme that gives firms a structured training framework marks 25th anniversary

For Mr Nicholas Hoon, joining Internet of Things solutions company Enlighted Sales and Service as a project engineer in 2017 was like starting from scratch, given his background in business administration and logistics and operations management.

Said the 29-year-old: "I had no general knowledge of IT protocol, communications, even simple issues related to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. I had to read up on a lot of things on my own."

Things changed last year when he became one of the company's first employees to go through an on-the-job training programme, developed in partnership with the Institute of Technical Education (ITE).

Mr Hoon went through three technical modules detailing steps of the company's business procedure, from project analysis to the installation of Internet of Things sensors and systems, and the testing and commissioning of software.

Yesterday, ITE celebrated the 25th anniversary of its Certified On-the-Job Training Centre scheme at its headquarters in Ang Mo Kio.

The programme has expanded significantly, with some 300 companies on board today, up from just 14 when it was introduced in 1994 to raise the workforce skill level.

It gives companies a structured framework for training, which includes identifying skills gaps and laying out training objectives and desired employees' competencies.

Companies bear the costs of training themselves, and trainers are usually in-house staff. Employees who successfully complete the training are issued a certificate by their company, backed by ITE.

BOOST IN CONFIDENCE

Different superiors can have different ways of teaching or guiding you. The structured programme has helped me become more confident in doing my job.

MR NICHOLAS HOON, a project engineer at Enlighted Sales and Service, on the on-the-job training programme.

About 35,000 workers are trained annually on average.

Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon said at the event yesterday: "As a small country with limited resources, we have always known that we need to maximise the skills and potential of our people. This is critical for Singapore to grow and prosper."

He gave out awards to 20 companies, including ComfortDelGro Engineering and Jean Yip Salon, to recognise their dedication and commitment towards training and developing their employees.

Mr Edmond Looi, business development director at Enlighted Sales and Service, told The Straits Times that before coming on board the on-the-job programme, the company had other training programmes in place, but they were not structured.

The firm was among the award recipients yesterday.

 
 
 
 

Mr Looi, 45, said being in the Internet of Things industry involves technical work such as wiring for temperature and humidity sensors.

He added that the most recent project the company completed saw just one error in the installation of about 500 sensors. In comparison, a project completed before the new training programme had almost 300 errors in the installation of 900 sensors, which took time to rectify.

The programme helped the company document processes in an organised manner, and helped it to train its employees and partners properly, he added.

As for Mr Hoon, having completed the on-the-job training, he is now a course trainer for new employees. "Different superiors can have different ways of teaching or guiding you. The structured programme has helped me become more confident in doing my job."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 13, 2019, with the headline 'Project engineer learns on the job, with help from ITE'. Print Edition | Subscribe