Makeover for training sector to help workers pick up new skills

This article is more than 12 months old

More lessons will go online; more training to be conducted at workplaces

The path to picking up new skills amid job uncertainties brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic is set to become easier for workers and their trainers alike.

More lessons and training resources will be delivered online and a customised curriculum could be developed for each learner for smarter coaching. More training will be led by the industry and conducted at workplaces to make it more relevant.

The changes will follow a new plan for Singapore's training and adult education industry, which was rolled out yesterday, with the sector set to play a key role in equipping workers with the skills they need for opportunities coming their way.

The Industry Development Plan (IDP) will directly impact 20,000 workers across private education institutions, corporate training organisations, and public sector training institutions like the Civil Service College Singapore.

It will also change the way thousands of local workers are taught new skills.

Announcing the launch of the plan at the biennial Adult Learning Symposium, Minister of State for Education and Manpower Gan Siow Huang said Covid-19 has already brought about a fundamental transformation of the workplace and classroom. "There has never been a stronger need for workers to adapt by shifting into new job roles and picking up new skills," said Ms Gan.

At the same time, the training sector itself will not be spared from the disruption that workers and businesses across Singapore are experiencing today, she added. That is why, she suggested it deepen tie-ups with industry and conduct more training at workplaces.

The sector also needs to sharpen its digital edge and offer more online learning, she said.

To help adult educators and trainers in this journey, the authorities have put together pre-approved digital learning platforms.

"Training providers can use such platforms to create and deliver digital content to learners online anytime, anywhere," said Ms Gan. She pointed to existing subsidies of up to 80 per cent under the Productivity Solutions Grant for those taking this route.

A new initiative will also be launched next month. Over the next three years, it aims to pair 200 training providers with digital curriculum developers who will guide them in creating and delivering online lessons.

Corporate trainers and educators will be provided with a step-by-step guide on the digital solutions and new skills needed as the industry pivots towards new ways of delivering lessons.

And when a new National Centre of Excellence for Workplace Learning is launched later this year, they will get help in developing the skills of their own employees, said Ms Gan.

"But the digital transformation of the (adult education) sector needs to go deeper than (just) providing more online learning.

"Training providers... need to fundamentally digitalise (the) organisations to unlock operational efficiencies, streamline routine processes, and glean insights from data."