SINGAPORE: Culture, Community and Youth Minister Lawrence Wong said Singapore must develop a culture of skills development and training, in order to keep up with the changing demands of the economy.
He said the country must become a place where workers can achieve their full potential, take pride in their skills and are valued for their contributions.
To do this, he said the government has already set up the Skills Future Council, but a strong tripartite partnership between the government, employees and unions is also required.
“In the past, we had competition from low-wage and low-skilled workers,” said Mr Wong. “Now there is competition from low-wage but high-skilled workers so what this means is that the jobs of the future will involve not just basic competencies but they involve doing and thinking, and constant learning. And we must do more, much more to develop this culture of skills mastery in Singapore.”
Mr Wong was speaking at the annual Ong Teng Cheong Labour Leadership Institute Graduation Ceremony on Saturday (Nov 8), where he urged unionists to continue their good work.
At the ceremony, about 90 unionists received their Advanced Certificate in Industrial Relations – almost double the recipients in the previous year. Another 26 unionists and 35 staff from NTUC’s Administration and Research Unit also obtained their diplomas in employment relations.
Administrative manager Noor Irdawaty Jammarudin is one of the top students this year. She said the course has helped her forge better labour-management relations at her workplace.
“I think it is really necessary that we equip ourselves as union leaders to have negotiation skills and to construct our arguments,” said Ms Noor. “To develop myself first and foremost, second is to develop my competence and confidence. I used to be very worried and very scared – at times I’m not bold enough. With this diploma, I have the utmost confidence that I can speak in front of a lot of people and it gives me great confidence when I negotiate with employers, and hear the members and solve their problems.”
At the event, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam also presented awards to the unions and companies which have demonstrated strong commitment to develop the leadership capabilities of union leaders.
The Amalgamated Union of Public Employees won the new Leadership Trailblazer Award (Gold) for its exemplary performance.
news source & image credit: channelnewsasia.com