New funding for companies to help local workers learn from foreign expertise

New funding for companies to help local workers learn from foreign expertise
Companies can tap on the Government’s subsidies if they want to bring in overseas experts with skills and knowledge to train their workers, said Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say on Tuesday (Oct 10). Photo: TODAY file photo
Published: 6:55 PM, October 10, 2017
Updated: 9:34 PM, October 10, 2017

SINGAPORE — Companies that want to bring in overseas experts with skills and knowledge that are lacking here to train their workers can now tap subsidies from the Government, Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say announced on Tuesday (Oct 10).

The funding, which can cover salary and training for trainers and trainees, overseas on-the-job training, and hardware purchases, comes under a pilot under the Ministry of Manpower, called Capability Transfer Programme.

Companies from all sectors are eligible for funding, which will range between 30 per cent and 90 per cent. Local SMEs and initiatives that have wider impact on an entire industry stand to get more support.

Speaking at a seminar held at Fairmont Hotel on ways to develop human capital, Mr Lim said the new programme seeks to allow the transfer of know-how that is lacking in Singapore quickly, while the Republic continues trying to improve productivity.

As countries elsewhere face the same challenges as Singapore of raising productivity and shrinking workforce as it transforms the economy, having new and better capabilities will be important to keep the Republic’s competitiveness up, Mr Lim noted.

He added that it was because Singapore has embraced an “eclectic” mindset of picking up the best from the experience of others that it has been able to learn and move fast, and remain competitive.

Mr Lim cited a local interior furnishing firm looking into developing products for healthcare, ranging from product knowledge, installation, care and maintenance. But local expertise in this area is currently limited, and foreign experts will be able to train and guide local workers quickly, so the local company or industry can serve the growing healthcare markets here and in the region.

In food manufacturing, for example, knowledge of high-pressure processing that can extend shelf life of products without the use of additives and preservatives, is also lacking. But with foreign experts’ input, Singapore food brands can venture into more overseas markets, he said.

Another area is diagnosing problems in and repairing hybrid cars, which is gaining popularity here, said Mr Lim. The Singapore Motor Workshop Association thinks that with foreign experts’ training, local workshops could raise productivity by 20 per cent to 30 per cent.

“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, as quickly as possible,” Mr Lim said, at the Human Capital Partnership Conversations. About 200 representatives of companies attended the event.