S'pore govt offers SMBs more funds for productivity

Singapore government aims by next month to shed light on availing more funds to support productivity training for local small and midsize businesses.
Written by Vivian Yeo, Contributor on

SINGAPORE--Small and midsize businesses (SMBs) in the country will soon be able to tap on more funds for productivity-related courses, Singapore's manpower minister Gan Kim Yong has announced.

Speaking Monday at the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) Workplan Seminar, Gan noted that SMBs play an important role in Singapore's national productivity drive as they employ some 60 percent of workers. As SMBs may require greater assistance in productivity improvement, MOM is developing "a more targeted program" to help them raise their productivity levels, he said.

To that end, MOM's Workforce Development Agency (WDA) will partner Spring Singapore (Singapore Productivity & Standards Board) to help SMBs improve their knowledge and capabilities through productivity training programs tailored specially for smaller enterprises.

"These programs will equip their supervisors and workers with the knowledge and tools they need to improve productivity at their workplaces. However, the management must take charge of productivity outcomes ultimately," he explained. "We will also provide training programs, customized workshops and diagnostic tools to help SME (small and midsize enterprise) CEOs and managers to implement productivity measures in their enterprises."

According to Gan, more details on the SMB funding support for productivity-related courses will be available in May.

In addition, MOM will be looking at two other areas to help cultivate a more productive workforce. The Ministry plans to further finetune its continuing education and training system, as well as make sure the upgrading needs of professionals, managers, executives and technicians or PMETs are well taken care of. MOM will also introduce in July a Workfare Training Scheme to help lower-wage workers benefit from training.

Gan noted that companies typically associate productivity gains with investment in equipment or IT, while the contributions by quality manpower, good management and progressive workplace practices are often overlooked.

A quality and learning workforce, however, can help a business quickly adapt new technologies and lead to competitive advantages, he said. Similarly, good management and progressive workplace practices result in greater employee engagement and hence higher productivity levels.

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