Photo: Getty Images

To date, over 1,000 large organisations and small and medium-sized enterprises have set up their own Company Training Committees (Photo: Getty Images)

What do Gardens by the Bay, an engineering company, a printer manufacturer and an industrial services SME have in common? They are all in the process of transforming their business for tomorrow, in ways that will benefit both employees and the company. 

When tourism plummeted in 2020, the Gardens knew it needed to transform quickly – and upskilling its people was a key priority. 

It formed a Company Training Committee (CTC) with its union partners to develop a three-year transformation roadmap that included cross-training and deploying staff across functions, and adopting new technologies as part of the Gardens’ Smart Garden vision.

Championed by NTUC, CTCs comprise representatives from a company’s management and union leaders who review the firm’s current training plans, identify skill gaps, plan for reskilling and career progression for their employees, and establish new training programmes.

“We are grateful for the invaluable expertise of our partner NTUC in helping us chart an Operation and Technology Roadmap, which not only equips our workforce with new skills to better respond to a post-pandemic world, but also positions the Gardens for long-term recovery and growth,” said May Yeo, senior director of human resource and corporate services at Gardens by the Bay.

As a result of the roadmap, the company saw an accelerated transformation leading to greater productivity and higher value roles for staff.

This is just one example of how CTCs can help transform businesses and workers to keep up with changes in the industry, ensuring a future-ready, relevant and resilient workforce. To date, over 1,000 large organisations and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have set up CTCs. 

Scaling business transformation

Recognising the challenges of business transformation, the government has taken the support one step further by rolling out a $70 million NTUC CTC Grant, with the aim of helping businesses with CTCs scale their transformation plans.

Administered by NTUC’s e2i (Employment and Employability Institute), the grant will support and co-fund up to 70 per cent of the qualifying cost for each approved project. Eligible companies, societies, non-profits like charities and social service agencies that are legally registered or incorporated in Singapore can tap on the new grant – as long as they can show how they plan to benefit both the enterprise and employees, such as by enhancing business capabilities and redesigning jobs through wage increases or a publicly communicated career development plan.

Companies can apply for the grant to fund transformation projects, along with consultancy or any relevant equipment or software training for employees as per the approved plan. The grant can also be used together with the Productivity Solutions Grant by the Singapore National Employers Federation.

“What it will mean to all workers is that you will be upskilled, hopefully with better work prospects in the near term and, in the long term, better wages that can be sustained as the industry transforms. And for businesses, you will be able to increase productivity, scale innovations, be able to do better business, attract better talents and be able to anchor for better business successes in the future. This will be a win-win for both,” said NTUC secretary-general Ng Chee Meng, at the May Day Rally this year. 

Win-win for companies and employees

CTC companies that require help with their business transformation can tap on the fully-subsidised Operation & Technology Roadmap (OTR) workshops facilitated by trained and certified NTUC officers.

The OTR is a strategic roadmapping tool that can help local enterprises develop customised roadmaps aligned to their business strategies and goals. Companies may then tap on the NTUC Training and Placement ecosystem to redesign jobs to improve productivity, get access to subsidised training solutions, and leverage support for manpower hiring needs. 

Companies from various industries, such as engineering and electronics, are tapping on the CTC Grant, administered by NTUC’s e2i, to boost their transformation efforts. (Photo: Getty Images)

A number of firms are keen to jump on the bandwagon, with at least three having successfully applied and qualified for the CTC grant. 

For instance, a leading technology and engineering company in Singapore is planning to use the funds to complement its existing industrial robots with new, high-tech collaborative robots (cobots). These cobots can be manoeuvred in tight spaces, which was previously not possible with the industrial robots. At the same time, it aims to upskill its welding workforce to operate the cobots and keep up-to-date with modern advances in technology.

Likewise, industrial services company W2 Industrial Services Hub, an SME, has also kickstarted their OTR journey this year. They hope to raise workers’ morale and retain staff through raising the efficiency of internal processes. The funding will support the company’s digitisation initiatives, including a consultation to review business processes and the development of a customised business digital solution to ease communication between departments. It will also enable its commitment of a salary increment to staff from various departments. 

While the CTC scheme “provides the framework to understand and identify our needs, gaps and pain points in a clear and concise way towards our transformation journey,” said Ong Wee Wah, founder and managing director of W2, “the grant looks into worker’s outcomes and wage increments, and aligns with W2 values, such as focusing on workers as its most important asset.” 

She added: “Happy workers lead to happy clients, which in return increases productivity and revenue.”

Meanwhile, electronics company Singapore Epson Industrial plans to develop a cloud-based digital platform to improve its end-to-end tracking and traceability of its container booking process. In doing so, it hopes to greatly enhance efficiency for both its internal processes, as well as for its diverse groups of staff. “The CTC Grant enables companies like Epson to access financial support to adopt technology and productivity solutions promptly,” said general manager Ew Li Cheng.

Ms Ew also shared: “With financial funding, digital transformation brings along digital culture in the workplace. This increases team engagement in digital tools and enhances team morale with higher value jobs.”

How to apply for the CTC Grant

  • First, form a Company Training Committee (CTC) by contacting your union or emailing 
  • Develop a transformation project, and show how it leads to better employee and business outcomes.
  • Submit the CTC-endorsed transformation project through the new e2i Grant Portal.

Note: Applicants are strongly encouraged to engage e2i here on their transformation projects before submission. Visit this page for more information.

In partnership with e2i