Singapore

Scheme to help equip local workers with new skills

Singapore food manufacturers want to learn more about high-pressure processing to extend the shelf life of their products, while a furnishing firm wants to break into the healthcare interior furnishing market.

But such expertise is scarce here, a shortage the Government hopes to address with a new funding scheme.

Called the Capability Transfer Programme, it will subsidise the cost of bringing in trainers from abroad to arm local workers with skills and knowledge of new technology.

The scheme will also help fund the salaries of both trainers and trainees. Companies can get from 30 per cent to as much as 90 per cent of the cost of introducing such training.

More support will be provided to projects by small and medium-sized enterprises and those that benefit industries as a whole rather than a single company, Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say said yesterday when he announced a pilot run of the programme.

This latest move is part of an ongoing national effort to upgrade the skills of the local workforce, strengthen its "Singaporean core" and enhance how local and foreign workers complement, rather than compete with, one another.

Also, in the new world of rapid technological innovations, Singapore has to compete not just on cost, but also in new and better capabilities, Mr Lim said.

"It is simply not possible for any economy, corporation and workforce to try to be self-sufficient in the fast-changing world of technology, innovation and global competition.

"So, we have to build new capabilities that will be in great demand in the future but are currently lacking or in short supply here."

It has to be done as quickly as possible, he added, speaking to about 200 company officials at a seminar on developing human capital.

This is critical to Singapore's future growth, especially since the expansion of its working-age resident population is projected to stagnate before the end of this decade, a slowdown from the 1.3 per cent annualised growth from 2005 to 2015.

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