Singapore, 30 November 2020 – Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will get more support to equip themselves with the necessary skills to further grow their business under Prudential Singapore’s (“Prudential”) SME Skills Accelerator (SSA) programme. It is a collaboration between SkillsFuture Singapore (“SSG”) and Prudential, under the SkillsFuture Queen Bee1 partnership.
The collaboration provides SMEs in Singapore support in developing and implementing their skills development plans, which better positions them to respond to a rapidly evolving business environment. A distinguishing component of the programme is the provision of a dedicated Skills Manager at Prudential, who will identify the skills needs of participating SMEs and customise suitable skills solutions to meet those needs. The Skills Manager will work alongside a team of Skills Ambassadors – Prudential’s financial consultants – who are trained and equipped with knowledge on SkillsFuture initiatives to engage SMEs who join the SSA programme. Prudential will also be building a digital training course booking platform with reminders and course recommendations to help SMEs sustain their workforce development needs.
Prudential is the first insurer to be appointed as a SkillsFuture Queen Bee company, and will be running the SSA programme to support participating SMEs in identifying their skills development needs to meet immediate and longer-term business objectives. Prudential has designed the 12-month programme to be flexible so that participating SMEs have the option to take on training programmes that are most relevant to them and still receive the full-year skills advisory support.
Commenting on how the SSA programme serves to support SMEs who may be faced with limited resources in their upskilling efforts, Prudential Singapore’s Chief Customer Officer, Goh Theng Kiat, said: “During these challenging times, SMEs may have been forced to put their training and upskilling plans on hold to focus on business priorities and financial challenges. We want to help SMEs on their journeys of continuous learning, as being future ready will drive a company’s long-term business growth, which in turn will help sustain Singapore’s economic growth.
“The SME Skills Accelerator programme aims to equip SMEs with the skills and resources to grow and innovate their business, upskill employees to aid their career progression and improve SMEs’ employee retention, as well as provide valuable opportunities for SMEs to learn from their counterparts.”
Mr Ong Tze Chin, Chief Executive of SSG said: “SMEs form the backbone of our economy. A workforce that is equipped with the latest emerging skills, is critical in helping our SMEs stay competitive and grow their businesses. The SkillsFuture Queen Bee partnership with Prudential allows the SkillsFuture movement to reach even more SMEs. SkillsFuture Singapore is thankful for this partnership with Prudential. Through this programme, we aim to help more SMEs identify their skills gaps, and more importantly, put in place the learning action plans to help their workforce bridge these gaps.”
To-date, more than 30 SMEs have signed up for the SSA programme which began in late-October 2020. These SMEs are from various industries including construction, education, food & beverage (F&B), funeral services, and information technology.
The SSA Programme will focus on the following aspects to help participating SMEs:
- Skills Ambassador and Skills Manager as key touchpoints and sources of guidance
- SMEs will be guided by the Skills Manager to map out the learning and development plans in alignment with business objectives and aspirations. The Skills Manager will identify suitable initiatives and available support for the SMEs during the learning needs analysis process, and connect them to the Institutions of Higher Learning (IHLs) for access to interns and research resources; and,
- Setting the right learning mindsets of employees and developing in them new skillsets in design thinking and innovation. The Skills Manager will work with SSG to bring the SkillsFuture Advice2 workshops to the SMEs to raise awareness of the learning opportunities and resources available for employees’ learning. Employees will also attend a workshop on Prudential’s Design 101 to pick up design thinking knowledge and skills, so they can be equipped with the competencies to support their company’s innovation and transformation.
- Throughout the 12-month programme, the Skills Manager and Skills Ambassadors will work closely with SMEs to strengthen their workplace learning practices and culture.
- Curated training plan with courses in digital upgrading and industry-specific programmes, funded at up to 90 per cent by SSG
- SMEs can also enroll in the courses from the IHLs and private training providers, that the Skills Managers have curated in the training plan. The courses are funded at up to 90 per cent by SSG. Employees can upgrade their digital skills and enrol in industry-specific courses to acquire the requisite skills to support their companies’ business transformation.
- Peer learning and networking through digital community platform Pulse Communities
- To sustain learning momentum and peer networking, participating SMEs will have access to a customised digital platform Pulse Communities to share best practices, learn from other SMEs in the network and obtain useful information on training programmes.
Quotes from three local SMEs who have signed up for the SSA programme
1. Eagle Wings Group of Companies
Dr Julian Theng, 52, Chairman, Eagle Eye Centre, and Eagle Wings Group of Companies is keen to invest in his most important resource, his employees.
“We hope to attract and retain talent, and provide them with opportunities to upskill so that they can continue on their path of personal growth. Developing our business is only possible when we develop our people too. With the SSA programme, we hope to equip our experienced staff with the necessary skillsets to act as mentors to their juniors, and in turn, they can work together to explore new ways of streamlining processes for greater efficiency.”
2. Kah Huat Song Kee Fish Agent Pte Ltd
Mr Goh Thiam Chwee, 57, Managing Director of Kah Huat Song Kee Fish Agent, has over 30 years of industry experience. A keen proponent of digitalisation, Mr Goh wants to encourage his fellow fish merchants to use technology to improve their processes and systems.
“Demand for seafood has changed, and we need to change the way we have traditionally operated as an industry to ensure business sustainability. I believe digitalisation is the way forward, and this is reinforced by the SSA programme where we learnt about setting up standardised processes for new products and services using technology as an enabler. Through the SSA programme, we also learnt design thinking frameworks to come up with improvement ideas for our industrial equipment. Most importantly, our employees have learnt how to create new ideas and think differently when designing new products and customer service.”
3. Delinatural Pte Ltd
Mr Hartaj Singh, 58, Director of Delinatural, has incorporated new skills from the SSA programme to enhance business sustainability, and is hoping his new interns will help his business take its first steps towards digitalisation.
“With the SSA programme, we were able to identify a business opportunity gap, and ways to potentially fill this gap. For example, we wanted to increase sustainable sales for direct-to-consumer ice-cream deliveries, and were able to ideate ways to improve the productivity and efficiency of our delivery services. Also, we are excited to have interns on board with us to help further our foray into digitalising our business and business processes.”
For more information or to sign up for the SSA programme, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or WhatsApp +65 9732 3563.
About Prudential Assurance Company Singapore (Pte) Ltd (Prudential Singapore)
Prudential Assurance Company Singapore (Pte) Ltd is one of the top life insurance companies in Singapore, serving the financial and protection needs of the country’s citizens for 89 years. The company has an AA- Financial Strength Rating from leading credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s, with S$43.1 billion funds under management as at 31 December 2019. It delivers a suite of well-rounded product offerings in Protection, Savings and Investment through multiple distribution channels including a network of more than 5,000 financial consultants.
About SkillsFuture Singapore
SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) will drive and coordinate the implementation of the national SkillsFuture movement, promote a culture of lifelong learning and strengthen the ecosystem of quality education and training in Singapore. Through a holistic system of national SkillsFuture initiatives, SSG enables Singaporeans to take charge of their learning journey in their pursuit of skills mastery. SSG will also work with key stakeholders to ensure that students and adults have access to high quality and industry-relevant training that meet the demands of different sectors of the economy for an innovative and productive workforce. For more information, visit www.ssg.gov.sg
1 SkillsFuture Queen Bee companies refer to anchor companies, industry leaders that are recognised for their expertise, have extensive business networks and deep sectoral knowledge, and can influence and support other enterprises particularly SMEs, to scale up skills development efforts and extend the reach of the SkillsFuture movement.
2 SkillsFuture Advice offers complimentary workshops on useful information about SkillsFuture programmes and how individuals and companies can tap on the various resources for their career planning, upgrading and business transformation needs.