For small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that are manpower-lean, upskilling is one of the ways to optimise productivity especially amidst the pandemic.
However, according to NTUC LearningHub (NTUC LHUB)’s recent Employer Skills Survey 2021, when asked about their intention to send their staff for training, SMEs (49%) are the least likely to do so, as compared to MNCs (30%) and large private Singapore Companies (25%).
Encouragingly, NTUC LHUB saw a 75% increase in the number of SME training places from 2020 to 2021. In particular, training areas such as Information Technology (IT) and Adaptive Skills courses saw an increase in the number of SME training places by 67% and 56% respectively. NTUC LHUB observes that many SMEs require workers who are digital-ready and adaptive amidst the ever-changing business landscape.
NTUC LHUB’s Head of ICT Isa Nasser says, “It is heartening to see that many SMEs are sending more staff for training. However, many operationally-intense companies find that time constraints and the lack of resources are major roadblocks for upskilling. While the desire for SMEs to train and upskill their workforce is apparent, those who do not have the right set-ups in place are disadvantaged.”
Prioritising Continuous Learning as a Business Imperative
To ease SMEs into upskilling endeavours and to provide continuous support for training needs, NTUC LHUB has developed a range of initiatives from digital solutions to tailored advisory.
Earlier this year, NTUC LHUB launched the LHUB GO Infinity online platform where learners can access over 75,000 on-demand courses at affordable rates. The service has been expanded to enterprises, where SMEs can utilise LHUB GO Enterprise Solutions to support workforce capability frameworks.
SMEs can tap on different packages on LHUB GO Enterprise with an annual subscription fee for companies with less than 500 users, or even up to 5,000 users. The platform serves as a Learning Management System that enables companies to build a learning ecosystem and engage with employees to track their progress.
To ensure SME’s workforce upskilling stays aligned to business objectives, employers can create or upload custom content through the easy-to-use course creation tools, including built-in assessment and quiz engines.
Supporting SMEs with end-to-end learning solutions
According to the Employer Skills Survey 2021, when asked about the likelihood to pursue upskilling by leveraging on government support schemes, SMEs (49%) are most likely to do so, as compared to private sector multinational corporations (36%) and large private Singapore companies (33%).
Beyond providing the delivery of training courses, NTUC LHUB also supports enterprises in providing end-to-end learning solutions. This includes firstly analysing the companies’ business goals and identifying skills gaps through a training needs analysis.
“Targeted skills training will enable SMEs to upskill employees in the most efficient and cost-effective way. NTUC U SME, an initiative of the Labour Movement that supports Small and Media Enterprises in their business needs, has collaborated with NTUC LHUB to launch programmes for their SME partners.
Yeo Wan Ling, NTUC U SME Director commented,”With the recent announcement of additional Government support measures to help SMEs cope with the pandemic, NTUC U SME will help our local enterprises leverage these measures and prepare for the post-COVID-19 economy.
“One way this can be achieved is through workforce training to identify gaps and build new capabilities. I encourage SMEs to view training as a priority and empower employees to not only increase productivity at work but transform their businesses in these uncertain times.”
“Being one of the key pillars of our economy, more SMEs must relook into their strategic imperatives in the New Normal, and equip their workforce with the right skillsets to achieve their new aspirations.
“NTUC LHUB is here to help enterprises by providing end-to-end training solutions for their employees, so that they can be well-positioned to thrive in the post-pandemic climate,” says Sivakami D/O Gopalakrishnan, Senior Director Corporate Sales, NTUC LearningHub.