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New digital transformation plan for training and adult education sector launched

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A screenshot of Minister of State for Education and Manpower Gan Siow Huang delivering the opening address at the 2020 Adult Learning Symposium, on Aug 13, 2020

[SINGAPORE] A new Industry Digital Plan (IDP) for Singapore's training and adult education (TAE) industry was rolled out on Thursday to drive the sector's digital transformation amid job uncertainties brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.

SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and the Institute for Adult Learning (IAL) launched the plan at the biennial Adult Learning Symposium, which was held in a virtual format for the first time.

In her opening address, Minister of State for Education and Manpower Gan Siow Huang highlighted three main shifts the TAE sector has to make to reposition itself for the new normal.

These are: shifts towards more learning at the workplace and towards digitalisation, as well as strengthening the quality of the ecosystem by reducing red tape.

"To enable workers to reskill and adapt, the Government has rolled out numerous training support schemes in the past few months... TAE professionals are instrumental in delivering these skills and training opportunities," said Ms Gan.

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"The TAE sector itself will not be spared from the disruption that workers and businesses across Singapore are experiencing today.

"But as with all changes, there will be significant growth opportunities."

She pointed to the past success of Train-and-Place schemes as a testament to the importance of strengthening workplace training, such as apprenticeships offered by the Sunrice GlobalChef Academy with established restaurants.

A new National Centre of Excellence for Workplace Learning, with a focus on adult educators, will also be launched later this year at IAL in Eunos Road to support companies in the training and development of their workers.

The TAE sector also has to accelerate the pace of digitalisation, Ms Gan said.

To this end, a new initiative will be launched next month with the aim of pairing 200 TAE training providers with digital curriculum developers over three years.

Ms Gan said: "But the digital transformation of the TAE sector needs to go deeper than providing more online learning.

"TAE training providers... need to fundamentally digitalise your organisations in order to unlock operational efficiencies, streamline routine processes, and glean insights from data," she said.

This is where the new IDP comes in, she added.

Finally, she said the quality of the TAE ecosystem has to be further strengthened.

"To achieve this, SSG will take the lead in reducing red tape, enhancing regulatory levers to raise quality, and providing curriculum guidance for training providers," she said.

The training and adult education sector IDP is the 13th under the SMEs Go Digital programme, and serves as a guide for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the sector to assess their digital readiness and identify digital solutions for adoption.

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