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Adopting technologies and upskilling workers produces positive outcomes for Singapore business

Mr Heng Swee Keat, Minister for Finance, spoke about the Governments willingness to support businesses that are ready to scale up and compete in the global arena at a budget debate round-up speech yesterday in Parliament.

He spoke of how Singapore must strengthen partnerships between the Government, firms and unions. Firms must build deeper capabilities together with their workers. The workers will then benefit from better jobs and better pay. A skilled, committed workforce will give businesses a competitive edge.

He said “This is the smart thing to do. We will continue to provide support to firms, which more directly link their companies’ growth and transformation with capability building for their workers, such as in the changes we made to the Enterprise Development Grant and the Productivity Solutions Grant.”

Adopting new technologies and upscaling workers produces positive results

He spoke about his visit to PSA earlier this month, on the first day of Chinese New Year, together with Senior Minister of State Koh Poh Koon, and how he was glad to see them adopting new technologies, such as the automated crane system.

He stated that “PSA has reskilled and upskilled over 1,300 workers who transitioned from the city terminals, to use the new technology at the Pasir Panjang Terminals over the past few years.”

PSA has worked closely with the Singapore Port Workers Union and Port Officers’ Union in engaging and facilitating the change for the large pool of staff involved in this transition.

Another example is ST Engineering’s aerospace sector, which he visited earlier in the week. ST Engineering is building enterprise capabilities and deepening worker skill sets in tandem.

“To ride on the wave of Industry 4.0, ST Engineering has been investing in smart maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) initiatives at its hangars, to adopt data analytics, additive manufacturing and automation.” he said.

The union-management Training Council worked closely with the NTUC Learning Hub to customise the SkillsFuture Digital Workplace course for workers, to familiarise employees with digital technologies, new work processes and automation. Over 200 staff attended the course in 2018, with another 600 staff expected to attend the course in 2019.

Government willing to support businesses ready to scale up and compete on a global scale

He went on to say that the customised support that the government will provide is available to companies that show ambition and are willing to take the effort to transform themselves to scale up quickly.

This support comes on top of many schemes which are accessible to firms, small and micro. For example, schemes which help firms adopt digital technology solutions, such as Start Digital Pack under SMEs Go Digital. And where there are market gaps, we provide support, such as through the Enterprise Financing Scheme, to provide financing for younger and smaller firms. These schemes, together with a wide range of schemes under the Startup SG branding, provide a strong base of support for start-ups.”


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