Singapore

New educational subscription scheme for workers to upskill

UFLX offers access to workshops, from data science to public speaking, at $100 a year

For about the same price as a premium Spotify music subscription - less than $10 a month - workers will be able to attend bite-sized workshops and networking events under a new subscription scheme by the labour movement.

The U Future Leaders Exchange (UFLX) offers users unlimited access to more than 60 workshops a year, ranging from data science to public speaking.

Announced yesterday by National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) secretary-general Chan Chun Sing, the scheme costs $100 a year.

NTUC members pay $30 a year.

The aim is to help workers prepare for the many career transitions they will make, Mr Chan told reporters after a dialogue with about 1,200 professionals at a conference.

He said the dialogue participants at Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre had brought up a lack of time, a lack of money and the need for a mindset change as the top three challenges they face in attending such courses.

It is difficult for working adults to take time off from family and job commitments, he noted.

Also, few will think it is a worthwhile investment attending such courses when the employment or earning outcomes are uncertain.

Addressing the concerns, Mr Chan said: "We are looking at how (we can) compress modules into bite-size formats, delivered to workers just-in-time, rather than have them going out for a prolonged course and take them away from their jobs in a prolonged manner - how (we can) drastically reduce the cost of them gaining knowledge."

NTUC said it aims to have 10,000 workers on board the scheme by the end of next year.

Since the launch of the pilot run in March this year, 200 paid subscribers have signed up, while about 1,000 people have used it on a three-month trial basis, which is free.

About four workshops are held each month, for about two hours in the evening, with online content being developed as well.

Some of the 50 or so events held under UFLX so far include a conference for educators organised by the Singapore Teachers' Union and a learning journey to Intel's Digital Hub for Asia Pacific and Japan organised by the Port Officers' Union.

Tech companies and multinational corporations like Microsoft and Procter and Gamble are also offering access to their innovation labs.

NTUC assistant-director general Vivek Kumar, who heads the U Future Leaders unit, said the bite-sized workshops and networking sessions can help workers understand emerging trends and requirements in their own or other industries.

They can then decide whether to go for further courses in a new area to deepen their skills.

ntucChan Chun SingWORKERS