SKILLS DEVELOPMENT

More skills training aid on the way for SMEs

Singapore

MORE help is on the way to encourage firms to send workers for training, said Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon during a visit to Singapore medtech manufacturing firm Racer Technology on Monday morning.

Noting that there are existing initiatives encouraging small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to send workers for skills training, he added: "This is something that we want to do more in the upcoming Budget and Committee of Supply."

Dr Koh highlighted the Agency for Science, Technology and Research's (A*Star) Model Factory Initiative as an existing platform that has "headway to grow". Nevertheless, there will be new initiatives to encourage training, with "a degree of funding support as well", he said, adding that details will come in the Committee of Supply.

To date, 137 projects have been undertaken as part of the Model Factory Initiative, launched in October 2017. Racer Technology tapped the scheme to adopt advanced manufacturing and train its staff in related technologies.

The solutions which Racer adopted were tailored to its needs, including a manufacturing operations management system that gives a real-time overview of production and allows for quick responses to unexpected events such as machine breakdowns or urgent orders. The firm also sent 15 employees for the Model Factory@A*Star Staff Training Module.

Dr Koh stressed the importance of digitisation, and research and development for SMEs in manufacturing to remain competitive both locally and globally. "We see medtech as a growth sector so we want to encourage more SMEs to go into this space."

Since A*Star launched Workforce Skills Qualifications courses in 2008, over 4,000 professionals, managers, executives and technicians from 1,500 companies have attended them.