Technician Goh Jeow Hong may be 85, but he is still learning how to speak English at work.
"I want to be able to communicate with my colleagues, hotel guests and contractors," said Mr Goh, who was named the best employee at the Novotel hotel in Clarke Quay last year. He handles carpentry, repair and plumbing work, and also mentors younger colleagues.
For his dedication, Mr Goh, who has not taken sick leave for the past 15 years, was honoured by the labour movement with a May Day Partnership Award yesterday.
A total of 24 awards were presented to 63 recipients for supporting skills upgrading in the workplace and building a strong partnership with the labour movement.
Labour chief Chan Chun Sing, the guest of honour, said the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) will continue to increase its membership and take care of all workers here. Its vision is to make sure Singapore "continues to do well, and continues to thrive" based on strong tripartite relationships, he added.
Employers who were lauded include Fei Siong Food Management, marine firm MTQ Engineering, which invested in automation to increase productivity, and Home-Fix.
Fei Siong was recognised for its entrepreneurial programme, where local job-seekers are hired and trained to run their own food stalls.
The programme, which is part of the Employment and Employability Institute's Place-and-Train initiative, teaches trainees service, kitchen and management skills.
They are paid a monthly salary for the first three months before they start their own stalls. They also have the option of being deployed to other roles within Fei Siong if they do not start a stall.
Home-Fix was lauded for its "strong Singaporean core" - seven in 10 workers are locals.
Managing director Low Cheong Kee said: "We help shoppers find solutions to their fix-it needs, so it helps if our employees know what living in Housing Board flats is like."
The home-grown firm offers employees NTUC membership, paying for the fees. It is also trying to make its workplace more elder-friendly.
"We are using bigger fonts for our price labels," Mr Low said.
As for Novotel's Mr Goh, the award affirms his hard work. "I will continue working for as long as I can. I am going back to work (after the ceremony)," he said.
This article was first published on May 21, 2016.
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