TÜV SÜD ASEAN shares importance of upskilling fresh graduates and current employees
SINGAPORE. The Channel News Asia (5 September 2022) - Organisations may baulk at the cost – both financial and time-based – of upskilling workers. This is an understandable concern given the current challenging economic climate. But this overlooks the fact that there’s a real cost to not upskilling workers, and it’s one that could be paid in terms of lost jobs and business opportunities.
A recent MTI survey found that a 10 percentage-point increase in the proportion of local workers sponsored for training by firms led to a 0.7 per cent increase in revenue in on average over a four-year period.
The study also found that investments in worker training boosted firms’ retention of their local employees by 0.6 percentage-points in the year of training. This reduces the risk of employers becoming trapped in a hiring cycle for suitable replacements.
Developing talent is not just about a company’s bottom line though. According to TÜV SÜD PSB, a global provider of safety, security and sustainability solutions, it’s also about leadership renewal.
The company is one of the employers who have participated in the SkillsFuture Work-Study Programme (WSP), an initiative that encourages organisations to develop their manpower pipeline by grooming local graduates.
Under the WSP, participating employers offer structured training to fresh graduates from polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education (ITE), as well as mid-career individuals who are enrolled in further studies at institutes of higher learning (IHLs) or SSG’s appointed private training providers.
WSP trainees attend classes while also working with employers that offer mentorship, guidance and opportunities to hone their skills in real-world projects. The company benefits from having a ready source of trained talent to support business operations and growth, as well as cultivating relationships with the IHLs that can serve as business partners for skills advisory.
Mr Chien Koh Wei, AVP, Cybersecurity, TÜV SÜD ASEAN said that the company believes strongly in upskilling its employees and advocates people development and internal mobility.
“As a leader in the emerging field of cybersecurity, I am happy that there are programmes in WSP for us to upskill our current talents into these new fields. The company aims to provide ample opportunities for youths to explore and develop ourselves,” he said. “At the same time, it’s important for the company to hone and nurture our next generation of leaders.”
Added Mr Chien: “One of the reasons we usually upskill existing staff or recruit inexperienced hires is the difficulty in finding people with relevant cybersecurity experience. By training them, we’ve found that we can increase our talent pool even in the currently challenging job market."
Companies also receive an SSG grant of up to S$15,000 per trainee to defray the costs of providing on-the-job training.
TÜV SÜD PSB has had several Work-Study Diploma trainees, including two employees who were enrolled in the Specialist Diploma in Electrical Design and Operation, and two from the Diploma of Applied Science (Food and Technology) programme.
The WSP programme is open to fresh graduates as well as current staff who want to further their studies at IHLs and eligible private centres, allowing the company to fulfil manpower needs in both higher-level and entry-level roles. As a valuable upskilling resource, it also assists with staff retention.
According to a 2019 LinkedIn survey, over 40 per cent of employees in Singapore have resigned due to not having enough opportunities to learn and develop.
Said Mr Chien: “The SkillsFuture WSP allows our current staff to upskill themselves with relevant education, while continuing to gain important work experience to advance in their careers. Additionally, it provides opportunities for us to engage with budding talents to kick-start their careers with us while they are completing their education.”
He added that the ongoing relationships with IHLs have developed into broader engagement: “The WSP has helped to strengthen our relationship with NTU (Nanyang Technological University), and we recently mentored a team from the NTU Peak programme (under which students address real-world problems) for their sustainability project.”
TÜV SÜD PSB values the importance of their staff continually improving their technical competence. Besides attracting new talent and aiding staff retention, employer-sponsored training is also a powerful tool when it comes to increasing productivity and workplace innovation.
Added Mr Chien: “We find that this allows trainees to build up their competence and confidence to solve more challenging technical issues. This programme (of collaborating with IHLs) brings a tide of fresh ideas and perspectives from students who are more in tuned with new technology, having grown up amid rapid shifts in technology.”
WSP trainees at TÜV SÜD PSB receive structured training that complements the skillsets they learn at their IHL.
Explained Mr Chien: “We adopt a future-oriented approach that allows trainees to broaden their knowledge. Furthermore, we invite trainees to join our project experts to be apprised of the latest industry changes and regulatory requirements.”
The organisation’s team of local and overseas specialists conducts numerous in-house training courses. In Mr Chien’s case, he had the opportunity to join workshops and seminars on industry developments. He was also mentored by more experienced staff so he could better understand these regulatory changes.
Mentorship helps veteran staff feel more valued in the workplace, while younger staff members benefit from their expertise. In both groups, employee retention is heightened.
Overall, the WSP has increased TÜV SÜD PSB’s recruitment pipeline and outreach to target candidates, serving as a valuable tool in a time of increasing competition for talent. Said Mr Chien: “Through this programme, the company is able to develop young talents and prepare them to take on suitable roles with more responsibilities in the future. In addition, we are able to develop skilled and specialised employees who will be an asset to our operations in the long run.”
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