By Tong Jia Han
MTQ Engineering used to take 24 hours to complete welding jobs manually.
It slashed the welding time to just six hours after acquiring a number of machines recently to do the job.
The new hardware boosted the Pandan Loop-based company's profits and also improved the working conditions of its 177 employees.
The oil-field engineering company was lauded yesterday as an example of a small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) that made headway towards improving operations with a "Singaporean core".
MTQ Engineering did this by raising productivity and improving its staff's job and wage progression, said the Ong Teng Cheong Labour Leadership Institute, a part of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC).
It upgraded its machinery with funding from NTUC's Inclusive Growth Programme.
Around 30 union leaders visited the company yesterday as part of the NTUC Learning Journey initiative.
"We boosted the starting pay of entry- level workers by equipping our employees with appropriate skills," said MTQ Engineering chief executive Kuah Boon Wee.
The company increased the salaries of its workers by 4 per cent last year and also adjusted their salary ranges.
Singaporeans fill all of the company's 19 managerial positions. Of its 48 supervisors, foremen and executives, 81 per cent comprise Singaporeans or permanent residents.
Even so, many companies like his find it hard to find local manpower, said Mr Kuah, a problem he attributes to the ageing workforce and the reluctance of younger workers to take up such jobs.
NTUC Secretary-General and Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Lim Swee Say - who was among the visitors yesterday - said a possible solution would be to redesign job scopes and remuneration to make the work more attractive to young Singaporeans.
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