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'Queen Bee' firms to mobilise other employers to uplift their sectors' capabilities: Lawrence Wong

'Queen Bee' firms to mobilise other employers to uplift their sectors' capabilities: Lawrence Wong

Minister for Education Lawrence Wong speaks during an interview on CNA’s Talking Point on Jan 7, 2021.

SINGAPORE: The Singapore Government is partnering with industry leaders to uplift the capabilities of their sectors by engaging in workforce developments, said Minister for Education Lawrence Wong on Wednesday (Jan 20).

Speaking at the fourth SkillsFuture Fellowships and SkillsFuture Employer Awards ceremony, Mr Wong said he was "very encouraged to see a growing number of employers ... come aboard the SkillsFuture movement".

"These companies recognise the importance of skills development and are taking active steps to invest in the training of their employees," he said at the event held at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre.

"Under the next bound of SkillsFuture, we will continue to help our employers take ownership of the skills development of their staff and workers. We are partnering with industry leaders, what we call Queen Bee companies, to uplift the capabilities of their respective sectors.

"We hope that these Queen Bee companies will help to mobilise other employers in their respective sectors or industries to engage in workforce developments. This could involve training beyond your own needs, or aggregating demand across the sector for skills development programmes," Mr Wong added.

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At the ceremony, 18 workers were awarded S$10,000 for skills mastery in their fields and commitment to mentorship and the skill development of others, while 22 firms were recognised as exemplary employers which have made significant efforts in the skills development of their employees and developed skills-based career pathways for them.

The cash award will "support them in their continued pursuit of skills mastery and lifelong learning", said SkillsFuture Singapore.

In congratulating the award recipients, Mr Wong said the 18 Singaporeans "have come a long way in their own journey of lifelong learning".

"Many of them have gone the extra mile to share their knowledge with those around them," he added.

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The recipients come from various industries, such as healthcare, design and landscape.

One of them was Mr Muhammad Hazri Abdul Halil, 47, who started his career as a Trainee Technician at SMRT and is now an Engineering Maintenance Manager at the Thomson East Coast Line.

Dr Lee Shu Woan, a senior consultant at Changi General Hospital and an Emergency Medicine veteran, was also recognised for being "an advocate of lifelong learning".

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The 22 companies receiving the award consist of seven small and medium enterprises (SME) and 15 non-SMEs from industries such as food services, precision engineering and logistics.

Mr Wong said that amid the "uncertain environment" of the COVID-19 pandemic, employers that can thrive and excel are those who maintain "steadfast commitment towards developing the skills of their workforce".

"Today, we will be recognising such exemplary employers. You have embodied the SkillsFuture spirit and championed skills development at the workplace, and for some of you, even across the wider workforce within your industry," the minister added.

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Among the awardees was Fong's Engineering and Manufacturing, recognised for its belief in "building a strong organisational learning culture".

Sembcorp Industries was also acknowledged for driving skills development "not just within the company, but across the entire industry".

"As we work towards this new normal, this new post-COVID world, I encourage all of us to draw inspiration from today's award winners who have shown a passion for lifelong learning, the continuous pursuit of skills mastery and excellence, and the willingness to adapt and prepare for change," said Mr Wong.

"These are evergreen traits that will stand us in good stead, regardless of what challenges await us in the future."

Source: CNA/jt

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