As economic development and technological changes hurtle on at an incredible speed, Singapore’s workforce must constantly upgrade to stay ahead of the curve. This makes both SSG and WSG crucial to the nation’s future, as together, the two statutory boards play a complementary role in empowering workers and businesses to become future ready.
The SSG-WSG scholarship was developed to enhance the synergy between both organisations. By providing the opportunity to learn and develop under both agencies, the scholarship enables young talents who are passionate about creating a competitive workforce become well equipped. Scholars Jessica Tan, 25, and Desmond Yeow, 29, tell us what drew them to this scholarship, and how it has enabled them to play a part in shaping the nation’s skills and employability.
What drew you to pursue a career with SSG and WSG?
Desmond: My interest in WSG came during my two-year stint as a senior career guide at the NUS Career Centre. I was helping my peers improve their resume writing and interview skills, when I realised how important it is for workers to be willing to learn and take on challenges. While technical skills can be picked up quickly, it is one’s attitude which determines his or her long term success. I felt these characteristics were often overlooked by jobseekers and wanted to do my part in promoting lifelong learning and skills upgrading for our local workforce.
Tan Hui Xin Jessica
SSG-WSG Joint Undergraduate Scholarship
Manager, Strategic Planning Division, SkillsFuture Singapore
Jessica: I began to understand the importance of training when I interned at a learning and development consultancy. My experience showed me firsthand how training programmes could transform lives. It was then I decided that I wanted to be in a line of work that would enable me to help people achieve their fullest potential. SSG and WSG aligned with my goals.
How has the scholarship benefitted you?
Desmond: The SSG-WSG scholarship offers many avenues for individuals to stretch their limits and develop new strengths. For instance, in my current role as an industry engagement officer, I oversee the Aerospace and Wholesale Trade sectors and work with companies to implement progressive HR practices to increase productivity. My job is challenging as we work with a wide variety of firms, all of which face different manpower issues and require us to come up with different approaches.
Jessica: The biggest benefit is being exposed to the work of both agencies. There are many cross-agency opportunities, which include not just stints in both SSG and WSG, but also at other agencies. I treasure how I have been able to explore various aspects of training and workforce development and believe this has given me a more holistic understanding that will enable me to make a difference in the lives of Singaporeans. For instance, one of the challenges in my first posting in the strategic planning division is to articulate policy positions clearly and accurately within a short amount of time. This requires me to have a birds-eye view of all SSG and WSG initiatives. We also regularly meet with the Ministers and CEOs of other agencies, which gives me a macro view of how different arms of the Government come together to shape and review policies to improve the lives of Singaporeans.
Desmond Yeow Yen Shien
SSG-WSG Joint Undergraduate Scholarship
Manager, Manufacturing Division
Share about the impact you have seen SSG and WSG have on the workforce.
Desmond: We are involved in developing the Jobs and Skills pillars of all sectoral Industry Transformation Maps (ITM). This includes deepening partnerships between Government, companies, trade associations and chambers to tackle specific issues within each sector. In addition, WSG champions a variety of programmes to ensure that Singaporeans remain employable.
For example, under the Wholesale Trade ITM, WSG has launched the Professional Conversion Programme (PCP) to help people find meaningful careers in the Wholesale Trade sector. The programme helps PMETs without the requisite experience rejoin the workforce and upgrade their skills to stay relevant. To date, more than 80 PMETs have been placed in companies such as Cycle and Carriage and Mastercard.
Jessica: Personally, I’ve seen how SSG and WSG work with many agencies, organisations and institutions to develop policies to better the lives of Singaporeans. The national SkillsFuture movement is a policy that affects everyone, regardless of whether you are studying, working or already retired. Working in SSG has provided me with the fulfilment of being able to empower Singaporeans to take charge of their learning and careers at all life stages. Recognising that the future jobs will be very much different from today’s, SSG is focusing more on researching and identifying future skills and doing the necessary preparations to train Singaporeans appropriately for future jobs. One example of this is how SSG has begun equipping Singaporeans with digital skills and prepared them for innovation.
What can aspiring scholars look forward to?
Desmond: If variety is your cup of tea, the SSG-WSG scholarship also allows you to choose among 40 different divisions across both agencies, ranging from Strategic & Resource Planning, to Career Services and Skills Development divisions. The plethora of choices really sets the SSG-WSG scholarship apart from others!
Jessica: You’ll be part of the efforts to transform Singaporeans’ lives through impacting learning and career pathways. There are many ways you can contribute back to society at SSG and WSG, including making training accessible and affordable to all Singaporeans, working with training providers and educational institutions to keep training options fun and relevant, helping workers convert or join a new industry, as well as matching Singaporeans to their dream jobs. Through the cross-agency opportunities offered by the SSG-WSG Joint Scholarship, you will find yourself with meaningful tasks and projects in all these aspects.