In order to stay ahead of the curve and remain relevant amidst global competition, it is imperative that employers and employees alike look toward learning, adapting, and upgrading skills. SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) and Workforce Singapore (WSG) seek to enable this through their various initiatives.
SSG promotes skills mastery and lifelong learning through the SkillsFuture movement, and WSG enables Singaporeans to meet their career aspirations and take on quality jobs at all stages of life, while also helping enterprises remain competitive and manpower-lean. To find out more about what these two agencies do, we speak to Ng Xin Yi and Foong Tai Wei, Principal Managers who embarked on their careers when they were first awarded their scholarships.
What motivated you to pursue the joint SSG-WSG scholarship?
Xin Yi: I was motivated to apply for the scholarship as the clarity and progressiveness of SSG’s Vision and Mission resonated with me. I had completed my internship with SSG, and saw first-hand how SSG officers worked closely with industry stakeholders to anticipate changes in jobs and skills, and support employers and individuals to acquire the skills needed to be futureready. Together with our partners, we work towards realising a shared vision for the workforce to embrace lifelong learning and fulfil their career aspirations.
Ng Xin Yi
SSG-WSG Joint Undergraduate
Principal Manager, Industry Development Division 1
Bachelor of Social Science – National University of Singapore
Tai Wei: I was invited to apply for the scholarship with WSG back in 2009. At that time, I had completed two internships with the private sector and knew that I wanted something more fulfilling; something purpose-driven, as opposed to being profit-driven. It was a relatively new statutory board then, and as I did my research, it dawned upon me that by working in this organisation, I would be able to influence and shape policy to benefit others.
Tell us more about your current roles and responsibilities.
Xin Yi: My current role at Industry Development Division looks at industry development and partners’ account management. Leading a team, we build and maintain a good network of strategic partners that includes economic agencies, key industry stakeholders, unions and trade associations, and training providers. This allows us to gather critical insights on industry skills needs and translate them into relevant learning solutions that support the sector transformation.
Tai Wei: I am currently seconded to MOM’s Income Security Policy Division (ISPD), where I’m part of a team that drives the national effort to ensure that Singaporeans can enjoy financial security in retirement. The team works closely with CPF Board and other partner agencies to formulate and implement CPF policies and initiatives that help Singaporeans meet their retirement, healthcare, and housing needs.
What were the development opportunities you enjoyed as a SSGWSG scholar?
Xin Yi: I had the opportunity to undergo job rotations and gain experience across the different work areas in SSG, which included quality assurance of learning programmes supported by SSG and the development of the Singapore Skills Frameworks which signals skills-in-demand. I was also seconded for two years to support the setup of a tripartite HR professional body, which provided me with an in-depth understanding of the challenges HR professionals face in helping the company and workforce transform. Each job rotation enables me to further enrich my knowledge and strengthen my skills sets so that I can better contribute to the organisation.
Tai Wei: I was exposed to different roles when I was rotated to different postings. Starting as a rookie industry engagement officer for the security industry, I learnt the importance of building deep and enduring relationships with the private sector, training partners, and other Government agencies. This is necessary to forge a consensus to support the national effort of helping Singaporeans reach for better job opportunities and better pay through skills training and upgrading. And through my secondment to ISPD in MOM, I’ve now had the opportunity to be exposed to a new and different area of policy work that has helped me further broaden my horizons.
Foong Tai Wei
SSG-WSG Joint Undergraduate Scholar
Principal Manager, Seconded to Ministry of Manpower
Master’s in Policy Organisation & Leadership Studies – Stanford University
Bachelor of Social Science – Singapore Management University
How has SkillsFuture Singapore and Workforce Singapore helped you develop further over the past years?
Xin Yi: There is a learning framework in place, which provides various learning opportunities that I can leverage to pursue my professional development. I tap on the funding for self-learning resources, to purchase books and periodicals that help me stay abreast of the latest developments in thought leadership and industry practices. The individual learning plan also allows me to reflect on my career aspirations and map my career development, with the support of HR and my management.
Tai Wei: The culture at WSG really helps to keep the passion for public service burning, and I have worked under inspiring bosses who have guided and supported me. In terms of development, the organisation has supported me in my pursuit of a Master’s in Policy Organisation and Leadership Studies, and has also given me the opportunity to attend various trainings and get accredited. As organisations that champion lifelong learning, SSG and WSG certainly walk the talk.
Do you have any words of advice for those aspiring to pursue the SSG-WSG scholarship?
Xin Yi: SSG and WSG are dynamic and purposeful organisations to work in. If you’re passionate about helping companies and individuals acquire skills to create a better future, these are the organisations to join!
Tai Wei: Be comfortable with being uncomfortable. There will be many opportunities where you are thrust out of your comfort zone, so be ready to learn topics outside of your specialisation. At the end of the day, serving in SSG and WSG is a calling. Our work is real, meaningful, and touches the lives of other Singaporeans. You must have the right motivations when applying.