the emerging issues in the CET landscape is the Changing Face of the Workforce.
facing external factors like challenging economic conditions, rising
competition, and disruption from technological advances, Singapore also faces
land and manpower constraints domestically. With increasing life expectancy and
low fertility rates, our citizen population continues to age. There are more
citizens in the older age groups today as the ‘post-war baby boomers’ enter
their silver years. As more Singaporeans retire and fewer young Singaporeans
enter the workforce, our citizen workforce will start to shrink from 2020
helps to balance the shrinking and ageing of our workforce. Foreign workers
take on the lower wage jobs in the sector which face difficulties hiring
Singaporeans (e.g. construction workers). These jobs complement Singaporeans’
capabilities, and support higher wage jobs. Funding and accessibility to WSQ
for foreign workers need to take into consideration each sector’s manpower
needs, the skill sets of our local workforce to fill those jobs and the types
of foreign workers needed to complement. However, by having a skilled foreign
worker who can do a better job than 2 to 3 foreigner workers may help to reduce
the number of foreign workers. Through job redesign programme, WSQ can
implement age-friendly workplaces to benefit older workers and help improve
productivity and growth for companies, thus relying less on foreign workers.
are becoming better educated, More Singaporeans have been upgrading themselves
via post diploma qualifications offered by the polytechnics or vocational
pathways in the Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) system. As Singaporeans
become better educated, there is a need to create more PMEs jobs to meet the
aspirations of Singaporeans. WSQ needs to put in place training programmes for
both non-PME and PME Singaporean so that they can upgrade and upskill to take
on higher skilled and higher-paying jobs through:
with established foreign universities to fill PMEs’ demand for qualifications
(e.g. between Singapore University of Technology and Design and the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology; between the National University of Singapore and Yale).
local educational institutions to align the curriculum with industry needs that
bridge the world of school and work.
workers to stay relevant with new skillsets in the emerging industries as
existing skills may become obsolete. This helps to build a strong and skilled
Singaporean core in the workforce.
skill gaps and propose appropriate training to equip locals with the required
skills to meet the industry needs
The new Industry
Transformation Maps (ITMS) developed for 23 industries under 6 clusters –
Manufacturing, Built Environment, Trade & Connectivity, Essential Domestic
Services, Modern Services and Lifestyle – which will help to create new and
better jobs are supported by 4 pillars.
These four pillars are Productivity, Jobs & Skills, Innovation and
Trade and Internationalisation. WSQ framework can help to equip the resident
workforce with deep skills to support the shift to greater value creation and
thereby raise the productivity.
Another issue is the Key
findings from the Survey of Adult Skills.
In 2013, OECD published the
survey findings for Programme for the International Assessment of Adult
Competencies (PIAAC) study. The study focused on skills – literacy, numeracy
and problem solving.
Some of the key findings were:
Younger adults in Singapore – aged 16 to 34 –
performed well in terms of problem solving in technology-rich environments,
numeracy and literacy skills compared to most OECD countries. But older adults
in Singapore – or those aged between 55 and 65 – fared worse, and attained some
of the lowest scores in literacy and numeracy among all participating
the gap between the most and least proficient
adults is wide in Singapore.
Positive social and economic outcomes for the
highly literate adults
More education does not necessarily translate
into better skills
Much of learning takes place outside formal
Develop links between the world of learning and
the world of work
Provide training for workers and ensure that
the training is relevant
The disparity in scores
between the younger and older adults reflected the improvement in the quality
of the education and training systems here over the past decades. The challenge
for Singapore is to do more for people in the older generations – to make sure
that people have opportunities throughout their lives to improve their skills,
to have employers valuing skills and not just formal degrees and credentials.
With its easy accessibility and being an open access training system, WSQ helps
those who require flexible, work-based access training system to upgrade their skills and knowledge. It is
also important that the training system has different levels; the principle of
progression of this WSQ provides training at various levels specifically at
operations, supervisory or managerial levels allowing all level of employees to
upgrade their skills for career progression.
WSQ is based on industry
agreed national skills standards, and courses only cover skills training which
is determined by employers to be relevant to prevailing occupations in the
industry – WSQ Principle of Relevance.
This helps to address the issue of the weak link between an adult’s
qualification and his skills.
WSQ training is quality
assured by the SkillsFuture
Singapore – WSQ Principle of Authority. It is delivered to suit adult workers –
modular, flexible, not necessarily classroom based and recognises past skills
and experience that workers already acquired – Accessibility.
High-quality career guidance
services, complemented with up-to-date information about labour-market
prospects, can help young people make sound career choices. WSQ can make
information about adult education opportunities easy to find and understand,
and recognise and certify skills, which encourages adult learners to keep
learning. WSQ made skills everybody’s business, with governments, employers and
individuals all engaged.