Quality of trainers matters the most: SMEs

Education Minister Ong Ye Kung with Charles and Keith Group's fashion coach Jazlina Jumale during his visit to the shoe retailer yesterday. He announced the launch of the new training institute at the company's headquarters. The home-grown brand is a
Education Minister Ong Ye Kung with Charles and Keith Group's fashion coach Jazlina Jumale during his visit to the shoe retailer yesterday. He announced the launch of the new training institute at the company's headquarters. The home-grown brand is among the first companies to work with the new centre.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

It is a good thing when local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are able to conduct training in-house - provided that the trainers are properly equipped with the right skills.

Weighing in on the launch of a new national centre to equip local companies with the capability to develop their workers to be in-house trainers, SMEs and business experts said it is the quality of the trainers that matters the most.

The new institute, called the National Centre of Excellence for Workplace Learning, aims to help more than 1,000 companies - particularly SMEs - build their workplace learning capabilities over the next five years.

It will help firms draw up customised plans including on-the-job training structures, among other programmes, and train employees to fill the role of in-house trainers.

SMEs have been put off by the costs involved in hiring external trainers, as well as the need to have employees spend time away from work, experts said.

"Sometimes they go for long courses that can be repetitive and unproductive. We also end up losing the workers during the training period. The course fees can be expensive as well," said Mr Alan Chua, executive director of security company Concorde Security.

Singapore Business Federation chief executive Ho Meng Kit said the value of an in-house trainer is that he has a good understanding of the needs and culture of the firm he works for.

While keeping training in-house is a good idea, it will be dependent on the skills an in-house trainer picks up, said Mr Chua."We want specialised training. What sort of skill set you want to impart to the workers is important. It has to be tailored to their needs," he added.

The company already has its own training curriculum and a trainer to conduct specific security courses.

Mr Alex-Wilem Lim, sales manager of design-and-build firm Dezign Format, said the institute is a good way to help companies train their workers, but it "depends on how well the person absorbs training and then imparts it to others".

Singapore Business Federation chief executive Ho Meng Kit said the value of an in-house trainer is that he has a good understanding of the needs and culture of the firm he works for. He said: "This person would be able to deliver something that is most appropriate for the company."

Trainers should constantly undergo training to keep their skills updated, said Ms Annie Yap, group managing director of human resource and recruitment firm AYP Group. "It's not a one-off thing but an ongoing process. Companies have to ensure their in-house trainers maintain their skills," she said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 31, 2018, with the headline 'Quality of trainers matters the most: SMEs'. Print Edition | Subscribe