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About 1,250 Shell employees to benefit from upskilling

THE Singapore Shell Employees' Union (SSEU) has teamed up with Shell to set up a Joint Capability Council (JCC) that will support training plans benefiting some 1,250 employees, out of the oil major's more than 3,100 staff in Singapore.

This is in line with Shell's plan to repurpose its core business and its aim to cut its own carbon dioxide emissions in Singapore by about a third within a decade, both organisations said in joint statement on Monday.

For a start, SSEU and Shell will work together to develop courses in areas such as adaptive skills, digital literacy and data analytics. The first phase of the initiative will see training programmes offered to more than 500 process and maintenance technicians.

The council comprises management representatives from Shell and union leaders from SSEU, with both parties partnering to jointly identify and equip employees with "relevant skills for the future".

"This initiative, amongst others, will complement Shell's digitalisation efforts in pivoting its manufacturing business into new, low-carbon value chains," the parties said.

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SSEU's general secretary, Munirman Abdul Manaf, said the establishment of a joint council is timely in view of the digitalisation trend and Shell's transformation plans. "With the set up of the JCC, the union will continue to work closely with the management to drive efforts in training and help our workers to remain gainfully employed," he noted.

NTUC secretary-general, Ng Chee Meng, said the JCC is an important step by both parties to look into the upskilling needs of workers and keep them relevant. "With this, they can have a formal structure to enable continuous learning to future proof themselves," Mr Ng added.

Shell and SSEU inked a memorandum of understanding on Monday. The signing was witnessed by SSEU advisor Vivian Balakrishnan, who is also Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Earlier this month, Shell Singapore announced that it is set to cut 500 jobs from its local workforce over the next three years as the group makes changes to its largest refinery on Pulau Bukom.

A Shell spokesperson told The Business Times that the 1,300-strong Bukom workforce will be cut to 1,100 by the end of next year, and be downsized to 800 by the end of 2023.

The company said this move would halve its crude processing capacity, and could deliver a "significant reduction" in carbon dioxide emissions.

Separately in August, Shell said it has selected its Pulau Bukom site in Singapore as the first site globally to pilot its virtual-manufacturing technology.

Named Digital Twin, the new technology is set to be completed in 2024 and will be a "complete virtual representation" of the physical elements on site, Shell said in a press statement then.

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