SINGAPORE: As part of efforts to strengthen workplace learning, SPRING Singapore launched the SkillsFuture Mentors programme on Friday (Dec 4).
Announced earlier this year, the S$45 million programme aims to improve their learning and development capabilities and strengthen small- and medium-sized enterprises' (SMEs) value proposition as employers offering career development and growth opportunities. It was launched by Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S Iswaran on Friday.
Minister S Iswaran speaking at the launch of the SkillsFuture Mentors programme. (Photo: SPRING Singapore)
The first batch of 18 mentors was selected by a panel comprising SPRING Singapore, Institutes of Higher Learning and the industry. These mentors will be matched to eligible SMEs over a nine-month period, and will help SMEs to enhance their learning and development processes as well as provide guidance and coaching to supervisors and managers.
So far, 16 SMEs have signed up for the programme. They include restaurant Brussels Sprouts and Mt Sapola (Singapore), which sells aromatherapy products.
Mr Gavin Chen, CEO of Brussels Sprouts, said: "Learning and development is a very important factor in any company, especially in F&B as well, because staff retention is one of the big things that we are trying to overcome and if we keep our staff learning, broadening their horizons all the time and keeping them happy, it will really equate to our business success as well."
Ms Cheryl Gan, director of Mt Sapola, said that her company hopes to bridge the difference in mindset between employers and employees.
"For the managers and my team leaders, it is more about in-house capability building," she added. "It is for them to understand and to have the necessary mentorship skills and coaching skills to transfer the technical know-how to the next level."
Ms Chew Mok Lee, assistant chief executive of SPRING Singapore, said: "Many SMEs face talent attraction and retention challenges due to a lack of experience and resources to put in place robust training plans and career progression pathways for employees. The SkillsFuture Mentors will help SMEs enhance their learning and development practices to build a quality workforce that supports business growth."
SPRING aims to build up a pool of 400 mentors to support 2,000 SMEs over the next three years, and will provide 100 per cent funding support to SMEs for the first three years.