Sunday, 6 December 2015

SkillsFuture Mentors: $45m mentor scheme to help SMEs manage staff

SPRING Singapore setting up pool of 400 mentors for SkillsFuture scheme to aid 2,000 firms
By Chia Yan Min, The Straits Times, 5 Dec 2015

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) keen to build up human resource capabilities can now get help from expert mentors.

Enterprise development agency SPRING Singapore has set aside $45 million for a new scheme to help SMEs improve staff training and career progression pathways.

Called the SkillsFuture Mentors Programme, it aims to build up a pool of 400 mentors who will offer support to 2,000 SMEs over the next three years.

SPRING will provide full programme funding to the companies over this period, it said in a statement yesterday.

Mentors will be attached to eligible SMEs for nine months, helping them to enhance staff development systems while training company supervisors and managers.

The goal is for participating SMEs to eventually join the SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme. This work-study scheme is designed to give fresh polytechnic and Institute of Technical Education graduates a head start in careers that are related to their discipline of study.

The pilot pool of 18 mentors completed an orientation programme conducted by Republic Polytechnic, and will make use of peer-learning platforms to continually upgrade their skills.

SMEs need to adapt to evolving changes, find a distinctive market niche and develop their competitive advantage through deep capabilities, said Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran at the programme's launch yesterday.

The quality and skills of their employees would play a fundamental role, he added.

Ms Chew Mok Lee, SPEING's assistant chief executive, said: "Many SMEs face challenges in talent attraction and retention because of a lack of experience and resources to put in place robust training plans and career progression pathways for employees."

Republic Polytechnic principal Yeo Li Pheow said the institution trains mentors to develop effective coaching and mentoring skills that will complement their technical knowledge.

SMEs interested in joining the programme can apply at

SPRING Singapore is also looking for more SkillsFuture Mentors, who must have at least eight years' industry experience, five years' management experience and expertise in learning and development.

Earn and Learn scheme making progress: WDA
Work-study scheme has 150 trainees across eight sector-specific programmes so far
By Pearl Lee, The Straits Times, 4 Dec 2015

Mr Dillon Choy, 22, was offered a place at the Singapore Management University (SMU) to study information systems.

But he gave it up to join an Earn and Learn work-study programme in the infocomm technology sector instead. This began in August under the national SkillsFuture initiative to arm workers with deep skills.

Mr Choy, a Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) graduate who has a diploma in business enterprise IT, is one of 27 graduates across the five polytechnics in Singapore to join the scheme in the infocomm technology sector.

Last week, I met 19 students at Singapore Polytechnic, who have graduated with diplomas in Food Technology, and now...
Posted by Ong Ye Kung on Thursday, December 3, 2015

Yesterday, he gave an update of his participation in the scheme to Acting Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung at consultancy firm Accenture's office in Raffles City.

Mr Choy has been working at Accenture since June, when he started a four-month training programme on emerging technology. He is now part of a team that ensures the smooth running of a grants and funding management system developed by Accenture for a client.

Mr Choy goes back to NYP every two months for a week-long course to complement his on-the-job training. At the end of the programme, he will graduate with a specialist diploma in information systems development.

"I had looked at SMU's curriculum and compared it with this programme and found them quite similar. But with this programme, I get to work in a multinational company and learn skills that I can apply immediately to projects," said Mr Choy.

Accenture is one of three firms taking part in the work-study programme in the infocomm sector. It employs 24 of the 27 poly graduates under the scheme. The others have been hired by tech firms Innova InfoTech and Nebulas Tree.

Workforce Development Agency chief executive Ng Cher Pong said the work-study scheme is "on track", with about 150 trainees across eight sector-specific programmes. Other sectors include logistics and food manufacturing.

"We hope to increase the number of Earn and Learn programmes to even more sectors and expand the number of placements," he said.

"We've been reaching out... to companies and the response has been fairly positive. This is new to the companies as well, some of them require a bit of hand-holding on how to set up internal structures."

The universities, especially the Singapore Institute of Technology and SIM University, are exploring whether they can offer advanced standing to those who complete the work-study scheme and wish to pursue a degree, he added.

Mr Ong Jia Ming, 23, who is employed by Accenture under the scheme, said he hopes to continue working at the firm after he finishes the work-study programme.

"I think it is important to work and gain experience... But I will also look out for part-time university degrees that I'm interested in," he said.

No comments:

Post a Comment