$3.8m plan to help SMEs train staff

$3.8m plan to help SMEs train staff

SINGAPORE - The Government will give $3.8 million to manufacturers, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to help them train their staff.

The Manufacturing Plan for Learning and Advancement, launched last Thursday, aims to help 1,300 workers over two years.

Firms can tap it in three ways: get a consultant to help them develop their human resource system, get help to bring their in-house training in line with the Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) system, and get more subsidies when sending workers for training.

For instance, an SME that sends workers for WSQ courses is usually subsidised up to $4 per worker per hour.

With the new scheme, the cap is raised to $24 per worker per hour or $13,000 per course, whichever is lower.

Announcing the help yesterday, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Lee Yi Shyan stressed the importance of the manufacturing sector.

"We must remember that it is important to retain a strong and robust manufacturing sector to achieve a diversified economy."

The scheme was developed by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency and the Singapore National Employers Federation.

Thirty firms took part in its pilot, which began in October last year.

Assistant maintenance manager Tang Meng Song, 58, was one of 18 workers from processed meats supplier Golden Bridge Foods Manufacturing who received training.

He took a three-day course on workplace organisation. "After the course, you'll realise how you should be organising your working environment," he said in Mandarin.

Kim Ann Engineering is sending almost all its 160 workers for training.

Financial controller Christine Ng said the scheme is "very focused in helping us develop our HR processes".

If the programme succeeds, it may be extended to others. Said Singapore National Employers Federation assistant executive director Stephen Yee: "We want... to help SMEs in general."

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