For Singapore to constantly adapt to fast-changing global economic conditions, it is important to upgrade the skills of the country’s workforce and “future-proof our workers”, said Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and National Development Lee Yi-Shyan yesterday (Sept 3).
“Singapore is a small and open economy. The rise of certain industries in other countries could mean the demise of ours. Competition is global, even our small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are not spared,” he noted. “As and when existing jobs are eliminated, when businesses scale down or move out, will our workers be able to move on to new jobs?”
Speaking at the People’s Action Party rally at Bedok Stadium, Mr Lee, a candidate for East Coast GRC, highlighted what he perceived as several key global economic trends that would threaten Singaporean industries, including the growing use of automation and information technology. “Google and others have started experimenting with driverless cars. Can you imagine the day when taxis come without drivers?” he said.
Mr Lee said these examples emphasise the urgency to prepare Singapore to “future proof our workers” and ensure that people will be able to find jobs in the future. In this regard, the government has put in place several skills upgrading programmes, including the SkillsFuture initiative announced at this year’s Budget to provide Singaporeans with opportunities to upskill and remain competitive and employable.
One of the key planks of SkillsFuture is the provision of training credits for Singaporeans over 25 years next year to sign up for approved courses that help them to deepen their skills set or acquire new skills. The minister said special attention will be given to Singaporeans above the age of 40, with more courses made available so that these workers can be reskilled across all major industries.
The courses will be mostly subsidised. He said the government is committed to invest S$1 billion to build up SkillsFuture infrastructure every year for the next five years, “But we also need businesses and employers to work with us (the government) closely. The government is working with the industries to develop 20 sectoral manpower plans … We want the SMEs and other businesses to come onboard,” said Mr Lee.
news source & image credits: todayonline.com