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Paving the way for businesses to combat disruption
In an age of disruptive technology and Industry 4.0, it is critical for businesses and workers today to learn new skills regularly — even daily — in order to keep up.
Kwek Kok Kwong, chief executive officer of NTUC LearningHub, is such an avid proponent of lifelong learning that he believes it has become "a new daily essential".
He explains: "When I started working 30 years ago, I told myself I have to learn every three years. Today, I find myself having to learn every day to keep pace with the rapid change around me. The world is changing faster than before, and we have to learn and adapt faster than before in order to prepare for workplace disruption."
Part of Singapore's larger Labour Movement, NTUC LearningHub's main goal is to help workers continually upskill by providing industry-relevant courses and training programmes. Since its corporatisation in 2004, it has grown to become a leader in Singapore's continuing education and training scene.
Under Mr Kwek's leadership, the organisation has built up an ecosystem of knowledge partners and strategic partners to create and proliferate new knowledge to workers and companies. NTUC LearningHub offers a wide range of courses developed in partnership with leading industry players, such as Microsoft, Oracle, Shopee and the John Maxwell Company to ensure that its content is up-to-date and relevant for businesses and workers to effectively keep pace with technological disruption.
Fostering a change culture starts from above
Mr Kwek believes that change requires hard work driven from the top. "In order for leaders to accelerate change, they must understand the impact of their actions on the experiences of the people in their organisations. Actions that lead to positive experiences will, in turn, drive desired change," he says.
The CEO is a keen advocate of annual upskilling for all employees. This year, his focus is on Robotic Process Automation (RPA). The goal is to have 30 RPA robots joining the organisation as assistants to take on mundane tasks, so that his workforce can focus on more strategic, high-value work.
Adopting Enterprise Singapore’s Business Excellence (BE) Initiative last year also allowed NTUC LearningHub to see significant improvement in its business performance. The globally benchmarked initiative lets enterprises review their business practices and develop a strategic roadmap to grow their organisational capabilities.
Organisations that demonstrate outstanding leadership and superior management capabilities are recognised for their efforts through BE Awards.
"The BE Initiative helps to forge greater collaboration among departments and business units by working towards a common mission. I am glad that our efforts were recognised when we achieved the Singapore Quality Class STAR with Innovation and Service last year," says Mr Kwek.
Preparing the workforce for tomorrow
As part of the vision to transform Singapore’s workforce, Mr Kwek has committed his support to the operationalisation of Company Training Committees (CTCs), an initiative rolled out by the Labour Movement earlier this year to help both workers and companies transform in tandem for the future. A target of 1,000 CTCs is to be set up over the next three years.
Mr Kwek says: "For companies keen to jumpstart their transformation, we have also launched the CTC Starter Kit to help them take the first step in training and gain initial momentum. I have applied these knowledge within my own organisation and I am confident that this kit will have strong impact on others, too."
Made up of six different courses, the CTC Starter Kit provides workers with skills that will be useful in navigating digital trends over the next few years, and improving business processes through lean thinking and design thinking.
"Singapore is moving towards Industry 4.0, and the vision must be that our workers work towards Worker 4.0, where we recognise that workers need to acquire strong adaptive, technology and technical skills. NTUC's push towards CTCs is vital, as it encourages companies working together with workers in a symbiotic way to ride the wave of opportunities together into our next economy," says Mr Kwek.