How Can Local PMEs Benefit From Skillsfuture?
The acronym PME stands for Professionals, Managers, and Executives, which the Ministry of Manpower defines as workers with a diploma or higher and those who have worked as professionals, managers, or executives and have had work experience in similar positions. They may have benefited from the Singapore Skills Development Levy (SDL) or other programs to improve the country's workforce.
How Our Government Helps the Local PMEs
The Government of Singapore has done a lot for the local PMEs. There are laws to ensure job fairness and non-biased employments. Organisations with a low proportion of Singaporean PMEs will have their recruitment processes scrutinised to see if Singaporean applicants were treated fairly. For a specific PME job position, they may have to provide information on the total number of applicants, the number of Singaporean applicants, and the number of Singaporeans who are currently employed in the organisation at various levels of management.
To strengthen the "Singaporean Core," there has also been a greater emphasis on developing and expanding the knowledge and skillsets of the local workforce. This will over time result in an economy of quality jobs with highly skilled and innovative PMEs. It also ensures the relevant job level competitiveness of the individual local PME. SkillsFuture has henceforth played a vital role in supporting and developing PMEs in Singapore.
PME jobs will form the critical and growing workforce in the future. As global education improves, with an increasing proportion of population completing tertiary education each year, a PME will need more than a bachelor's degree to stay competitive internationally. People's skills such as communication, leadership, teamwork, and other soft skills are therefore highly essential for PMEs today for them to remain relevant.
Hence, there is a need to build a solid foundation for transiting the Country to become a more skilled and innovative economy, with high-quality jobs requiring deep skills and expertise. SkillsFuture therefore assists Singaporean PMEs in pursuing these high-quality jobs and careers, reduce the risk of job mismatch, and maximise their opportunities within and beyond the country.
Leveraging Your SkillsFuture on Education and Training
For education and training, the SkillsFuture programme is one of the most elaborated programmes in Singapore over the last few years. The basic premises of SkillsFuture is to upgrade our workforce's skills and knowledge. Since its inception, the SkillsFuture programme has been immensely popular, being quoted in subsequent political rallies, budget statements, and ministerial dialogues. Its visibility has been extended to online media, newspapers, television, radios, MRT stations, and bus stops' advertisements.
However, the take-up rate was below expectation. In a news report by Today, about 660,000 people upskilled themselves under the SkillsFuture programme in 2021. Empirically it was a great achievement, but it has covered only about 20% of the country's labour force. The government has been relentlessly educating individuals on the prospects of SkillsFuture. On the other hand, it is up to the individuals, especially the PMEs, to decide on participating in the programme.
Moreover, with thousands of courses, programme tracks, and initiatives to choose from, but with a limited amount of SkillsFuture credits each adult individual has, it can be challenging for the learners and their companies to determine which options are relevant or available. Claiming a success of the SkillsFuture therefore appears to be far.
SkillsFuture is a national platform that allows all Singaporeans to chart their paths to a brighter future by developing themselves to their fullest potential for all careers and educational backgrounds. SkillsFuture aims at building a national culture of life-long learning journey in upskilling and re-tooling skill sets. Local PMEs, especially mid-career individuals and seniors professionals, can benefit from the programme.
There are two core components in the SkillsFuture programme: skill mastery and lifelong learning. Each has its own purpose and importance.
Skills mastery refers to acquiring extensive new skill sets in the areas one chooses and constantly striving for more outstanding excellence through knowledge, application, and practical experience.
Meanwhile, lifelong learning refers to the lifelong pursuit of knowledge and skills installation.
Various specific SkillsFuture programs can primarily benefit employers, employees, and businesses. Because SkillsFuture is all about skills mastery and lifelong learning, HR departments will generally be involved. Some programs on the SkillsFuture platform have a more direct and immediate impact on PMEs generally. That could include programs that help improve leadership skills, management capabilities, and organisational performance.
These programs will benefit SMEs looking to hire talented professionals, managers, and executives with diversified skills and expertise, while at the same time, upgrading the skillsets of the existing PMEs of the company. HR managers can also design place-and-train programs as job prospects for potential staff and assist their management in screening and matching suitable job-searching PMEs with specific vacancies.
SkillsFuture Mentors Programme
SMEs can participate in the SkillsFuture Mentors programme to help develop their PMEs. Such programme improves the SMEs' learning and development competencies. It strengthens their value propositions as employers of choice by providing positive career advancement and growth opportunities for the potential candidates. Professional trainers or third-party mentors will provide training to the SMEs in progressive HR practices, effective communication, and how to effectively onboard newly recruited PMEs. Before being chosen as mentors, shortlisted mentorship professionals will go through a panel interview. Those selected will then go through an orientation course before being matched with the participating SMEs.
The mentors will then assist the participating SMEs in improving their learning and development frameworks and processes, as well as coaching the managers and supervisors in improved training delivery methods.
SkillsFuture Fellowships Programme
The SkillsFuture Fellowships programme, which began this year, recognizes and develops potential mentors with advanced skills. Individual PMEs who have significant work experience in the relevant industry or occupation and a track record of contributing to the skill development of others, such as through coaching or mentoring - will have the chance to enrol into the programme to become a master mentor for future talents.
Industry Manpower Plans (IMPs)
The Industry Manpower Plans (IMPs), another initiative under SkillsFuture, aims at creating a detailed roadmap for various economic sectors, including HR. Each IMP will seek to identify future skill sets and develop a plan for advancing those skill sets in the local workforce.
The IMP will also recommend improving HR practices and working conditions in each sector and skills-based career progression pathways. A Sectoral Tripartite Committee composed of representatives from relevant employers, unions, and the government manages the IMP.
So far IMPs have been announced for hotel, retail, built environment, public bus, and food services sectors. Significantly, the IMP implementations will benefit the local PMEs in these sectors.
Strengthening the Local PME Core
Employers can embark on the SkillsFuture programs such as Earn and Learn to strengthen th
e Singaporean core and local workforce in this highly competitive labour market. SkillsFuture encourages workers to initiate their training to stay ready, relevant, and resilient in the economy.
While the government and training providers play an active role in the overall SkillsFuture movement, it is also essential for companies and individuals to understand the benefits and hence to take part in the programme. Professionals will have their work re-designed such that there are also opportunities for foreign employees in Singapore. One key challenge for the HR community is therefore to delicately manage the diversified workforce in Singapore, with a healthy mix of both locals and foreign talents4.