Industry leaders to give SMEs leg up in upskilling workers

More than 30 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) - some facing operational constraints in sending their staff for training - will receive more help to equip their workers with the right skills and grow their business.

Over the course of a year, they will work with Prudential to identify skills gaps and receive the necessary support under the insurance firm's SME skills accelerator programme. These SMEs come from 23 industries, including construction, education and information technology.

Minister of State for Manpower and Education Gan Siow Huang spoke with some SMEs on the programme yesterday at independent cinema EagleWings Cinematics.

This programme is part of efforts by SkillsFuture Singapore to get industry leaders, or "queen bees", to help with the training needs of not just their own staff but also those from other firms.

Prudential is one the 22 queen bee entities currently on board the SkillsFuture initiative.

There are plans to have some 40 queen bee firms on board by 2025.

Under Prudential's programme, SMEs will get support in their skills development plans. For a start, SMEs will be guided by a dedicated skills manager from Prudential who will help them identify skills needs and map out learning plans in line with their objectives.

This manager will identify suitable initiatives and available support for the SMEs, and work with a team of trained skills ambassadors - Prudential's financial consultants - who are familiar with and can recommend SkillsFuture initiatives.

A digital community platform will also allow participating SMEs to share best practices, learn from others in the network and obtain information on training programmes.

Mr Ong Tze Chin, CEO of SkillsFuture, said: "Through this programme, we aim to help more SMEs identify their skills gaps, and more importantly, put in place the learning action plans to help their workforce bridge these gaps." - THE STRAITS TIMES