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AS WE enter the third day of of our BT Salutes Enterprise series, it is gratifying to see that many of the companies we've featured are being strategic and forward looking in heeding the government's call to upskill their employees as a way of sharpening competitive edge.
Even as they "fight fire" - almost all SME towkays will acknowledge being caught in this invariable state - businesses, regardless of their industry, are increasingly aware of the importance of training and upskilling to remain relevant in the fast changing world. Homegrown distributor of mobile elevating work platforms (MEWP) Galmon, for instance, credits education when it comes to emphasising the importance of work safety. The company has never once experienced a fatal accident involving one of its machines throughout its 34-year history.
This is especially impressive given that falls from height are one of the top causes of workplace injuries every year in Singapore. In 2015, 66 workers died in workplace accidents, an increase from 60 deaths the year before. More than one-third, or 23 deaths, were due to falls from height, a sharp increase from the 14 deaths in 2014, according to figures released by the Workplace Safety and Health Institute.
Galmon established its own training academy in 2011 and became an approved training provider for MEWPs under the manpower ministry. It became an approved training organisation under the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) last year, offering Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) courses in boom, scissor, and personnel lifts.
Leacov Singapore, meanwhile, has noticed an uptrend of companies turning to training to upgrade their staff. The professional security training company is an approved training provider, and offers 23 programmes under the WSQ training framework set up by the WDA.
According to founder Simon Ng, "business has been overwhelming" in recent years as the government has rolled out roadmaps for the different sectors. Security companies specifically need to meet training and wage requirements for their staff by September this year before their firm licences can be renewed.
These are just two companies that we feature in today's BT Salutes Enterprise series. Within, we share more stories of businesses as they grow, build, and thrive.
And as they do, OCBC Bank, our partner for this series, has committed to ensuring SMEs have access to ready funding for their cashflow and business growth needs.
Says Linus Goh, head of global commercial banking at OCBC Bank: "This year, in partnership with Spring Singapore, we rolled out the OCBC Business Venture Loan programme targeted at companies with accelerated growth potential and the OCBC Working Capital Loan that provides SMEs with unsecured working capital financing of up to S$300,000."
OCBC has set up two dedicated Business Loan Centres specialising in government-backed loans. "Our purpose is to bring the bank to the SMEs, making it easier for them to choose and apply for loans that best meet their business needs and obtain the necessary funding," says Mr Goh.
Cover design: Gareth Chung Illustration: Simon Ang Sub-editor: Lee Kim Siang Photographers: Don Wong, Joseph Nair Advertising sales: Lam Wy-ning 9368-5685; Stella Yeo 9799-9001; Calista Ang 8188-1471; Jonathan Kee 9835-5400; Veronica Chong 8127-8929