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Four more professional guilds join NTUC's U Associate Programme

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(From left) Dr Arokiaswami Alphones, Chairman of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (Singapore Section), Ms Regina Tan, President of Singapore Association of Administrative Professionals, Ms Abigail Lee, President of Association of Psychotherapists and Counsellors (Singapore), and Ms Lisa Watson, President of Direct Marketing Association of Singapore, at NTUC Centre on Feb 18, 2016.


FOUR more professional guilds officially joined the National Trades Union Congress's (NTUC) U Associate Programme on Thursday, taking the total number on board to 26.

The programme involves associations from industries such as engineering, IT and finance to develop career and skills progression plans for PMEs (professionals, managers and executives) in these sectors.

The four new associations are the Direct Marketing Association of Singapore; the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers; the Association of Psychotherapists and Counsellors; and the Singapore Association of Administrative Professionals.

Labour chief Chan Chun Sing said it was important for the labour movement to see to the professional development of the country's PME group, given that their numbers are growing and make up 30-40 per cent of the workforce.

"Beyond their vertical professional track, we want to give them that horizontal exposure. This is important for them to compete for the very top jobs in their respective industries," the NTUC secretary-general told reporters on the sidelines of the NTUC's second U Associate Convention.

"When you rise up to the C-suite positions, you must not just be competent professionally, but you must also have that cross-sector exposure," he added.

Writing in a blog post on the NTUC's website on Thursday, Mr Chan also made the point that the purpose of the five-year-old U Associate Programme was more than simply forming strategic partnerships.

He noted how some of the outcomes of these partnerships include sector-specific programmes in areas such as engineering, workplace safety and finance.

"These programmes focus on identifying core skillsets and equipping PMEs with the right skills to progress further in their careers. Through our eco-system of partners, we open the doors for PMEs to gain exposure in meeting thought leaders from different fields, expand their perspectives and learning in different areas, to enable them to reach C-suite positions," he said.

Still on the issue of employment in Singapore, the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (Tafep) has launched a new initiative to garner more support for the creation of fair and inclusive workplaces.

The Fair@Work Promise, as the scheme is called, is a personal commitment not to judge others based on stereotypes or biases, but rather to see them for their abilities.

"All of us want to work in a workplace where we are not judged based on biases and stereotypes," said Tafep general manager Roslyn Ten. "To achieve this, we must first recognise and acknowledge that we all have biases, unconscious or not. These biases may play out in our everyday interactions and behaviours at work."

Early birds who have already pledged their support on the Fair@Work microsite include employees of the Manpower Ministry, Singapore Press Holdings, Starbucks, OCBC Bank, and Sakae Holdings.

Those who want to pen their promises can do so online at

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