As much as sixty taxi drivers attended new SkillsFuture for Digital Workplace pilot programme on Saturday (Oct 21), which is designed to help to help older cabbies overcome their fear of new digital platforms.
The programme, initiated by NTUC LearningHub (LHUB), National Taxi Association (NTA) and RP, aims to equip taxi drivers with practical and relevant skills that can help them in their daily work. The trainees were taught on how to use digital platforms and mobile applications such as Parking.sg, learn using e-payment methods such as PayNow, access Internet banking and other relevant business applications at Republic Polytechnic (RP).
Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) and Second Minister for Defence Ong Ye Kung joined the trainees as RP’s School of Infocomm Cyber Ambassadors guided the older cabbies, whose average age was 62 years.
LHUB chief executive officer Kwek Kok Kwong said that nowadays, technology seems to be very threatening and frightening to some people, including the cabbies. As the taxy industry is undergoing rapid changes due to technology disruptions, the organisation tries to make the learning process as experiential and as fun for the learners as possible.
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Among those who attended the programme was Mr Yeo Tong Chye, 69 year old. Being a cabby since 1978, he said that the problem is not that he cannot learn, but he is only able to learn in slower pace.
NTA president Raymond Ong stated that taxi drivers are concerned that they might not be able to cope with the advancement of technology. He said the association intends to start a “buddy system” that allows younger or tech-savvy cabbies to teach older ones on how to embrace digital technology, Straits Times reports.
LHUB aims to train another 1,000 taxi drivers next year. The course curriculum will include 10 hours of classroom sessions and two hours of off-site learning.
In July, it is reported that taxi population in Singapore has dropped by more than 10 percent after the arrival of ride-hailing apps such as Uber and Grab in 2013. According to last year’s statistics, there are some 25,000 active taxi drivers in the city state, with half of them aged 55 and above.
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