Training academy to boost skills of environmental services workers

Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Chee Hong Tat speaking with a WIS Holdings staff member, who will be trained in housekeeping, at a mock hotel room set up in the company's training academy for environmental services workers.
Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Chee Hong Tat speaking with a WIS Holdings staff member, who will be trained in housekeeping, at a mock hotel room set up in the company's training academy for environmental services workers.PHOTO: WIS HOLDINGS

From robot cleaners to kitchen sinks that turn food waste into fertiliser, the environmental services industry has been evolving to tackle challenges such as manpower constraints.

While enterprise transformation can be driven by technology, it should always remain people-led, said Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Chee Hong Tat yesterday.

He was speaking at the launch of an environmental services training academy by cleaning and maintenance services provider WIS Holdings.

"We need to look at how technology augments workers by simplifying certain functions they perform, or giving them a boost in productivity," he said.

"This includes technology and equipment that can reduce the physical demands on human workers, which will allow older workers to continue working longer if they wish to do so," he added.

Mr Chee said workers should embrace lifelong learning and continually upgrade their skills to ensure that they can handle new equipment and make good use of technology.

The environmental services industry has more than 1,700 companies, which employ about 78,000 people.

  • 78k

  • Approximate number of people employed in the environmental services industry here.

WIS Holdings has around 4,000 staff here. It is working with SkillsFuture Singapore to get its in-house training accredited under the Workforce Skills Qualifications system, so other firms may benefit from training at the academy, said Mr Chee.

He added that such training initiatives by WIS Holdings and other industry leaders could help attract more Singaporeans to join sectors such as environmental services, where there are manpower constraints.

Yesterday, WIS Holdings signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to set up a company training committee.

The MOU is with the Building Construction and Timber Industries Employees' Union, the National Trades Union Congress' Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) and the National University of Singapore School of Continuing and Lifelong Education (Scale).

The committee will help WIS Holdings develop the enhanced technical competencies of its workers through in-house and customised training, in order to equip them for the transformed jobs in the industry, the firm said.

The committee will comprise representatives of the firm and its partners, including e2i and Scale.

Correction note: This article  has been updated for accuracy.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 23, 2019, with the headline 'Training academy to boost skills of environmental services workers'. Print Edition | Subscribe