NTUC’s programmes serve a wide range of workers

PMEs can tap into NTUC’s programmes to upgrade or re-skill themselves.

Jun 27, 2016

Just last month, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced at NTUC’s May Day Rally that the Government will provide a 1 to 3 matching grant for the NTUC Education and Training Fund (NETF), capped up to $150 million. The Labour Movement will raise $50 million whilst the Government will provide another $150 million; totaling to an injection of $200 million into the NETF.

The $200 million will be used to fund courses through course fees subsidies aimed at helping members, including the professionals, managers, executives (PMEs) to upgrade and reskill.

What does this mean for you?

It means that no matter your age, job or industry, there are programmes for you to upgrade yourself and get ahead in your career.

These programmes, offered by NTUC or in partnership with NTUC, provide you with the opportunity to mingle with career coaches and learn from the experts in the field who provide invaluable advice that will help you weather through the changing times ahead.

Be Hardworking: Paving the way for better career prospects

Mr Quek Kwang Yong, 31, Manufacturing Manager at Kulicke & Soffa Pte Ltd.

Knowing that what lies ahead is of great concern to young professionals, NTUC has worked with several professional associations and guilds to establish programmes that identify and equip future leaders with the right skills.

One such programme is the Young Engineers Leadership (YEL) programme – an initiative of the U Associate partnership that NTUC has formed with the Institution of Engineers Singapore – which Mr Quek Kwang Yong enrolled in.

With an eye on the future, Mr Quek has always felt that it is important for a person to keep learning in order to stay relevant.

This is especially true for the engineering industry as new technology is being introduced every day.

Thus, when his company nominated him to join the second batch of the Young Engineers Leadership (YEL) programme to sharpen his leadership and technology management skills, he did not hesitate to accept.

Over nine months at the YEL programme, participants get to expand their network by connecting with peers, leaders and entrepreneurs in their industry.

“Interactions with industry experts through the YEL programme is a valuable opportunity to get ahead by learning from the experiences of seasoned professionals,” says Mr Quek.

At the end of the YEL programme, he has a renewed confidence of his career prospects in the industry after hearing about the profiles of other C-suite leaders in the engineering field. He also benefitted from the advice shared by industry and academia experts on the latest industrial developments.

“The bite-sized information that was shared was adapted into knowledge-sharing content for my staff, allowing them to also be updated on the latest developments in the industry.”

His quest for personal development did not stop at the YEL programme. Mr Quek has since started a part time Masters in Business Administration to build up his knowledge in other business domains such as marketing and strategic planning.

There is also more room for him to grow in the engineering field, he feels. “As most research and development arms of engineering firms are not based in Singapore, most engineering professionals in Singapore are risk averse and lack drive in innovating as compared to the engineers in more established ‘engineering’ nations.”

“However, local engineers are equipped with the know-hows now through their engagement with well-established research institutions, and there is potential for more innovations and opening up more paths that engineers can take in his or her career.”

Be Hopeful: Starting afresh in a new environment

Mr Subramanian Veeramani, 46, Realtor.

You are not just confined to taking up courses and programmes relevant to your line of work. Instead, NTUC opens the world up to you. Through its U Future Leaders programme, NTUC allows you to master new skills that enables you to make a successful career switch just like Mr Subramanian Veeramani.

Better known as Mani to his clients and LinkedIn followers, the 46-year-old is a life example of someone who made lemonade when life handed him lemons.

After being retrenched as a senior scientist, he decided to pursue his passion of  becoming a property agent.

He first learnt about NTUC while registering for his real estate salesperson exam in 2013, which he was then doing out of personal interest. He has been an active member ever since, participating in various NTUC programmes, including the U Future Leaders Summit in 2014 and 2015.

He also tapped on the Union Training Assistance Programme (UTAP) fund to receive a S$250 subsidy for his course – C3: Customer Service for Real Estate Salesperson (level 1) in October 2015, after he lost his job in August the same year.

In November, Mr Subramanian signed up for the NTUC Personal Branding Clinic, organised by U Future Leaders. “As a property agent, personal branding is very important as this is a people business and it is one of the ‘greatest differentiators’ in the real estate services,” says the 46-year-old.

Through the clinic, Mr Subramanian learnt about LinkedIn and how he could utilise the professional social network to grow his customer base. “Now I know how LinkedIn can help me maintain my professional identity, make useful contacts, search for opportunities, and stay in touch with the latest career opportunities,” he says.

He has since re-configured his LinkedIn profile and in less than a year, he has grown his number of followers from a few hundred to more than 7,000.

Aside from LinkedIn, he feels that the personal branding clinic is a course anyone can benefit from. “It provides a clear focus for personal development and has the potential to work wonders for career success. With a deeper understanding about personal branding, individuals can go ahead to pursue their area of interest and passion. There is a dynamic relationship between career success and personal branding.”

For others who may be in a similar situation as he was in, Mr Subramanian suggests that staying relevant by picking up new skills is important in today’s knowledge based economy. “Invest at least five per cent of your time in bite-size learning of new skills and knowledge, and you will reap benefits in the long run.

Be Connected: Helping creative individuals shine and build strong networks

Mr Saleem Hadi, 34, Media Professional.

The creative industry is rather unique when compared to other industries. NTUC recognises that, which is why it has established U Creative to hold events and organise programmes that cater to and build up the creative community.

Media professional Mr Saleem Hadi has benefitted from making new connections with others in the same industry by participating in U Creative events after he learnt about NTUC’s initiative through social media and EDMs. “One valuable contact I have made is with Mr Juan Foo, who heads the NTUC U Creative programme. He has spent much time and effort in giving me valuable feedback about the passion I have in filmmaking and education.”

The 34-year-old has also gleaned many valuable tips from others in the same field after attending several U Creative events. “I have learnt that you should always have a clear vision before you embark on any projects because if your intentions are murky and unclear, you will lose other potential collaborations and opportunities,” he says, adding that he now makes it a point to share his objectives with his collaborators and partners more frequently to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

He was also inspired by one of the talks that was conducted by a visiting Iranian filmmaker. “He said to trust yourself and indulge in the craft you practice to see it grow fully.”

Networking is another area that he plans to work on as he realised that “you never know who will help you and your project” when you network and are open to collaborations. “I am more open to networking sessions now,“ he confesses.

With his sights set on making a name for himself as a media educator and developing interesting media and arts enrichment programmes, Mr Saleem plans to continue being an active U Creative member and keep up to date with the latest developments in the creative industry by participating in more talks by acclaimed professionals.

“By being a part of the U Creative network, you are opening yourself up to many opportunities to share and collaborate. This is very healthy for the media industry as a whole.”